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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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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Celtic Rhythm: CGA Pipes & Drums in Concert

On a chilly Saturday evening, 13 May 2017, we headed through to Springfield Convent in Wynberg, to attend a special fundraising concert presented by the Cape Garrison Artillery Pipes & Drums. Pipe Major Tony Reis had graciously arranged tickets for hubby and me, and I’d brought along my camera gear to take some photos of the event.

From the first piece, appropriately called ‘Call to the Gathering’, where the cry of a solitary piper rang out across the spacious hall, I knew we were in for a special treat. As the rest of the pipes, the rattling snare drums and the big booming bass drum gradually joined in, the sound rose and swelled, filling the hall with wonderful music.

Our entertaining MC Tiernan Shields

Tony and his fellow organisers had put together a wide-ranging musical programme that included fast-paced jigs and reels, slow and hauntingly beautiful tunes, and the tippity-tappity percussion of Irish hard-shoe dancing alternated with the light-footed leaps and twirls of Scottish Highland dancing.

Our Master of Ceremonies of the event Tiernan Shields with his delightful Irish(?) accent did a great job introducing each of the acts.

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