An international singing sensation, a colourful 60-piece military band from far beyond our shores, a famous larger-than-life puppet horse, and a foot-tapping troupe of traditional rieldansers from the Cedarberg who recently won the world championships – these are just some of the exciting acts awaiting spectators at the upcoming Cape Town Military Tattoo 2015.
On Friday, 9 October 2015, I attended the official media launch for the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2015 at Weltevreden Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch. As we drove up the long tree-lined driveway, the whitewashed thatched roof buildings in their distinctive Cape Dutch architectural style appeared in the distance.
A friendly security guard showed us to our designating parking area; while we were waiting for the other invited guests to arrive, I chatted with him, and was struck by his enthusiasm and knowledge about the estate and its history, with the original title deeds dating back to 1692 (bear in mind that Jan van Riebeeck only arrived in the Cape in 1652). (You can read all about it here: History of the Weltevreden estate.)
Noticing my camera, he encouraged me to wander around a bit, so I did.
By late morning, everyone had gathered inside the ‘Lekke Neh’ restaurant, which was the venue for our function. It was a group of representatives from various media, as well as military personnel and civilian supporters (like me :-)). After a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms, and some other assorted goodies, we settled in to hear the various speakers.
Captain (SAN) Marcus Rammutloa, the Senior Staff Officer of the Defence Reserves Provincial Office of the Western Cape, was one of the speakers. The DRPOWC is responsible for coordinating and organising the Tattoo, with the Executive Committee led by Lieutenant Colonel Johan Conradie.
As I now know, having been allowed behind the scenes since the 2010 Tattoo, there is an incredible amount of work happening, though much of it will be invisible to the audience who will come and watch all the shows. Without the dedication, team work, commitment and focus of every single one of the people labouring away behind the curtain, so to speak, this event would not be happening.
The production team, led by Lieutenant Colonel Tienie Lott of the Cape Town Highlanders, are putting together a very special show this year, paying homage to the men and women who served in the military during World War I. So it is fitting that the show is again taking place in ‘Poppy Month’, so close to the international commemorations around Remembrance Day.
I was delighted to hear that military bands from all the armed services – the SA Army Band Western Cape, the SA Navy Band, the SA Airforce Band and the SA Medical Health Services Band – will be returning to the arena in 2015.
They will be joined by some of the finest pipe bands in the country, among them the Cape Town Highlanders, Cape Field Artillery, Knysna and Districts, and Algoa Caledonian pipe bands. So, there will be drums and bagpipes, trumpets and trombones, twirling maces and military uniforms and traditional regalia – a veritable feast for the eyes and ears!
In addition, we were told by Production Manager Warrant Officer 2 Charles Canning (who is also the Pipe Major of the Cape Town Highlanders Drums and Pipes), a choir will be performing a moving tribute to the trench diggers and stretcher bearers of World War 1, and a Cape Malay Men’s Choir, will bring a distinctive Cape flavour to the event.
And as it is a military Tattoo, after all, we’ll be kept on the edge of their seats by several thrilling acts: a group of brave daredevils will be ‘dropping in’; a drill platoon will show-case their discipline and teamwork; and some energetic young cadets will demonstrate their skill, agility and strength with a gun run to beat the clock.
As soon as bookings open at Computicket – go and book your seats!