The annual remembrance service for members of the former South African Defence Force (SADF) was held at the Wall of Remembrance at Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria today.
Picture Credit: topphoto.co.zaThe Wall was erected to pay tribute to the members of the SADF who lost their lives in service of their country over the period May 31, 1964 and April 1994 . The Wall was made possible through private donations and contributions in kind. No state funds were used for it. Also close by is the 32 Battalion Tree of Honour which commemorates soldiers of 32 battalion who lost their lives during the border war.
The names of members - including more than 700 who died in operational situations - are engraved on the Wall. More names are added every year as deserving candidates are confirmed.
More than 100 wreaths were laid in remembrance of members of the former SADF. The wall contains the names of some 2 500 members.
"This is for people - to enable them to remember and also to help facilitate closure for those who have lost dear ones during the period of service that we commemorate," says Voortrekker Monument's Gert Opperman.
Military veterans from as far afield as Australia attended the ceremony in solidarity with their colleagues who died in battle. One of those laying wreaths was Chris Taljaard, who travelled from Brazil to attend the service. His brother Danie is one of the fallen soldiers buried in the Ebo district in Angola.
Political parties, former generals, civil rights movements and cultural groups also honoured the fallen soldiers. For some, the Wall is the only place where their loved ones are officially honoured.
SA Defence Force Wall of Remembrance (Official inauguration of the Wall - 25 October 2009)
Recce: A Collector's Guide to the History of the South African Special Forces
Pre-order now at Amazon.com or Kalahari.net (South Africa)
Authors: Paul Matthysen and Matthew Kalkwarf
Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers (January 15, 2011)
This new book, due to be released shortly, has been some 15 years in the making and can claim, with some justification, to be the definitive publication on the ‘Recces’, unlikely to be topped for many, many years. The South African Special Forces have invariably been portrayed as a sinister force, used in covert operations locally and abroad but this is pure political expediency and media propaganda. The unit’s operators are shy, humble soldiers, whose primary role is intelligence gathering, although they will take offensive action, ruthlessly, if necessary. Highly trained professionals in a class of their own, these elite troops have garnered for themselves an international reputation par excellence.
Click here for more publications on the South African Defence Force, (available at Amazon.com)