The Dress Rehearsals for the SA Tattoo 2018

Yesterday (Thursday) was another long day for the cast and crew of the SA Tattoo 2018. Many of the performers, bands and dancers had spent the last days rehearsing outside the arena as well as inside, trying to make sure that everyone knew their positions at various critical points in their routines. The Highland Dancers and the Irish Dancers, as well as the Drum Majorettes, all have really fast-paced and complex routines, and as always I was blown away by their passion and energy, and their ability to remember all those complicated steps!

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SA Tattoo 2018: A full day of rehearsals

The SA Tattoo is going to blow your socks off.

Seriously, if you haven’t yet bought your tickets, please head on over to Computicket! There are three performances:

  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 4pm
  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 7pm
  • Sunday 07 October 2018 at 3 pm

You really don’t want to miss this.

Promoting the SA Tattoo 2018

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The SA Tattoo 2018 is almost here!

Exciting news!

We’re going to see the SA Tattoo in Pretoria next week!

Since I heard that the SA Tattoo was returning in October 2018, I have been keeping an eye on their website and social media. Things have been so quiet on the Tattoo front both in Cape Town and KZN for the last couple of years, and I was feeling bereft. The almost-annual Tattoos in Cape Town always offered a goal to work towards, and an event to look forward to with mounting anticipation. We haven’t had that since the spectacular CTMT 2015.

So when Simon Carter, Executive Producer of the SA Tattoo, left a comment on my blogpost titled “What does the future hold for the Cape Town Military Tattoo”, telling me that the South African Tattoo was coming to Pretoria, I knew that I just had to make a plan to see it. Luckily for me, Tattoo Week coincides with a conference at the CSIR, which hubby has to attend. 😉

Tickets have been bought, flights and accommodation are booked, and arrangements have been made. And to ratchet my excitement levels up into the stratosphere, yesterday morning, I received permission from the organisers to take photos behind the scenes and during the performances!!! I cannot tell you how thrilled I am, and how eagerly I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces again and to meeting new people!

If you haven’t yet bought your tickets, you have a few more days to head on over to Computicket! The venue is the brand-new Sun Arena at Time Square, in the Menlyn Maine precinct. It can apparently seat up to 8,500 people. There are three performances:

  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 4pm
  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 7pm
  • Sunday 07 October 2018 at 3 pm

Now go and reserve your seats at Computicket!

Newsflash: The SA Tattoo 2018 is happening!

This morning, I received an interesting comment on my blogpost titled What Does the Future Hold for the CTMT?

It came from Simon Carter, the Executive Producer of the South African Tattoo. He said as follows:

“The South African Tattoo is returning in October 2018 , performing 6 shows at a new venue, Sun International’s Time Square, a state-of-the-art indoor arena, seating over 6000 per show. It is the only privately funded tattoo and although the business model of producing a show with over 500 performers, including international guests, is very challenging, we aim to reestablish the SA Tattoo as an annual event in our country’s capital.”

Fans of Military Tattoos in South Africa – please join me in cheering loudly!!

Now isn’t that FANTASTIC? Finally, a Tattoo in South Africa again!

Please go and visit their website, and find out more about the upcoming event – and how to book. The event will be held from Thursday 4 October to Sunday 7 October 2018 at the Sun Arena at Times Square, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria. Books open at Ticketpro in April 2018, so make a note in your diaries.

I’m sure that, as the event approaches, there will be more information available on their website with regard to the performers we can expect to see. So pop over there from time to time.


Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph (2017)

On Sunday, 12 November 2017, the City of Cape Town hosted their annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Heerengracht.

Before the Parade

When I arrived at the venue on Sunday morning, a large marquee with numerous rows of chairs had been set up in front of the Cenotaph, and the guard of honor were doing a final rehearsal of their march-on and march-off. In the distance, I could hear the Cape Field Artillery Pipes and Drums tuning up, with the wail of the pipes and the thumping of the drums echoing between the tall buildings of the city centre.

The men and women of the SA Navy Band in their brilliant whites were setting up their instruments behind the marquee. The new Director of Music of the Navy Band is Lieutenant Lindela Madikizela, who has taken over the baton from Commander Kenny Leibbrandt. On the other side of the road, the musicians of the SA Army Band Western Cape in their distinctive scarlet uniforms were warming up their instruments; they would be leading the troops on parade in a little while.

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Remembrance Day at the Red Cross Hospital (2017)

On Friday, 10 November 2017, the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (see the RCWMCH Facebook page) in Rondebosch held their annual Remembrance Day service. As in previous years, I went together with fellow photographer/writer Glynnis who is responsible for publishing the Pinelands Muse together with her husband Max.

This moving and beautiful ceremony is organised by the Children’s Hospital Trust, a non-profit public benefit organisation that was established as the fundraising arm of the Hospital. Charitable donations received from generous members of the public allow the Trust to upgrade the Hospital’s buildings and equipment and to develop its professional staff. The Trust prides itself on the fact that 100% of all donations actually goes to such improvements, with not a single cent being spent on administrative costs.

Each year, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, Remembrance Day services are held across the world, to mark the moment when German soldiers signed the Armistice Agreement that ended the Great War on 11 November 1918, after four years of continuous and terrible warfare. In 1919, King George V dedicated Remembrance Day to the memory of all those members of the armed forces who had been killed during World War I. It has since become a special memorial day to honour all those who have died in armed conflict around the world since the Great War of 1914-1918.

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Commemorating the Battle of El Alamein: 75 Years On (2017)

On a sunny and hot Sunday, 29 October 2017, I made my way to the Castle of Good Hope in central Cape Town to take some photographs at the 75th Annual Commemoration Service of the Second Battle of El Alamein. As in previous years, the service was organised by the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment, the Cape Western Provincial Dugout of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (MOTHs) and the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DODMV).

I had only attended this parade twice before – once in 2010, and a second time in 2015. I still remember how completely out of my depth I had felt in 2010, because it was only the second military parade that I had ever attended (the first had been the Battle of Square Hill Commemoration Service of September 2010).

At the time, I didn’t have a clue how these parades worked, and I didn’t know where I was allowed to stand, how close I was permitted to get to the action, and what was going to happen when. I had no idea who was who. And I was still learning how to use my camera (I had just bought my very first DSLR, the Canon 550D) and how to take photographs at these kinds of events; I didn’t know what would work, how to compose and frame shots for best effect, how to anticipate and time the shot correctly, or what settings to use.

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A Fireside Chat with Matt

A week or two ago, an intriguing invitation arrived in my inbox from Lieutenant Commander Glenn von Zeil to attend a talk by Matt Tennyson about “The evolution of conflict journalism & interesting people interviewed”. This immediately piqued my interest, as I knew Matt from my involvement in the Cape Town Military Tattoo.

Glenn is is the Manager of Student Housing at UCT and Warden of Groote Schuur Residence and Mansions; in his efforts to introduce students to interesting South Africans, he holds so-called fireside discussions at Groote Schuur Residence in Rondebosch, at which various speakers are invited to share their knowledge and experience on a diverse range of topics.

I remember meeting Matt behind the scenes at the Cape Town Military Tattoo in 2010 – which was the first year I had been granted access behind the scenes with my camera and notebook in hand. I was told that he was a conflict journalist and war photographer who had been to virtually every war zone in the world. He had the world-weary air of someone who had experienced and witnessed the worst side of human beings first hand. But he did not fit my preconceived image of a conflict journalist – loud, confident, brash, a bit of a cowboy, bragging about the dangerous people he had encountered and sharing horror stories of close calls with death. Quite the opposite: he was quiet and unassuming, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready laugh.

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Annual War Commemoration Service at the Bellville Cenotaph (2017)

On Sunday, 20 August 2017, the Annual War Commemoration Service was held at the Civic Centre in Voortrekker Road, Bellville. It was arranged by the Bomb Alley Shellhole (BASH) of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats, in conjunction with Sub-Council 5.

I had never attended this parade before. Apparently, it is a fairly recent event, and has only been going for 4 to 5 years. A couple of friendly chaps from the Signals Association had sent me an invitation, so this time I knew about it beforehand. When I arrived, I was pleased to see some familiar friendly faces. One of my favourite parts of these events is re-connecting with friends and acquaintances, catching up with each other’s lives, and getting to know new people. 🙂

Before the event began, I walked over to the cenotaph for a closer look, as I hadn’t seen this one before. I was told that it had only recently been moved to its current location, directly in front of the entrance to the Bellville Civic Centre. In previous years, it had stood a few metres to the left, on a patch of grass crossed by a footpath. Its present location, right in front of the giant imposing clock tower (whose clock, sadly, is no longer working), is clearly far more suitable for parades. It also meant that the chairs for the dignitaries and invited guests could be set up underneath the awning, at the main entrance to the Civic Centre – providing much-appreciated shade on this pleasantly warm day.

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Welcoming the new General of the Gunners with a Bang!

On Saturday 27 May 2017, the Cape Garrison Artillery Pipes & Drums under Pipe Major Tony Reis provided the musical backdrop to an important official event held at the Cape Field Artillery Gun Park, located on Fort Ikapa military base, just off the N1 highway.

During a Change of Office Ceremony, Major General Roy Cecil Andersen as outgoing General of the Gunners (GoG) handed over the Tokens of Office to his successor, Major General Jabulani Sydney Mbuli.

Also attending the event were Brigadier General Khaya Makina, GOC SA Army Artillery Formation, Brigadier General Sandile Hlongwa, GOC Air Defence Artillery Formation, Maj Gen Nontobeko Mpaxa, Chief Director Force Preparation, on behalf of the Chief of the SA Army, and Mr Carl Kies, CEO of Reutech Radar Systems. The commanding officers of Cape Garrison Artillery (Lt Col J.J. Visser) and Cape Field Artillery (Maj J. Nel) and Lt Col Johan Conradie of the Defence Reserve Provincial Office of the Western Cape were joined by veterans, members of the Gunners’ Association, officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers.

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