Roll Call: Castle Ceremonial Guard

Programme Notes: CTMT 2003

“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally based uniform and 18th century replica halberds – as far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons – have become a well-known sight. At 10am on every weekday morning the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the actual early-morning drills of 300 years ago.” (CTMT 2003)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2004

“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally based uniform and 18th century replica halberds – as far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons – have become a well-known sight. At 10am on every weekday morning the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the actual early-morning drills of 300 years ago.” (CTMT 2004)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2007

07-closing-ceremony“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years. The guardsmen are dressed in their unique traditionally-based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds – as far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except for the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle to visitors by carrying out the ‘Key Ceremony’, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago.” (CTMT 2007)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2008

img_7983“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years. As far as is known, the Castle Guard, with its guardsmen in their unique traditionally based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds, is the only unit in the world, except for the Vatican Guard, to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons, and its members have become a well-known sight.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle to visitors by carrying out the ‘Key Ceremony’, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago. Various units man the Castle Guard. The Guard of the 2008 Cape Town Military Tattoo will comprise members of the Cape Town Rifles (Dukes).” (CTMT 2008)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2009

img_5223“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally-based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds – as far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except for the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons – have become a well-known sight.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago. The Castle Guard is manned by various units – at the 2009 Cape Town Military Tattoo its soldiers will be provided by the Cape Town Highlanders (CTH).” (CTMT 2009)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2010

“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally-based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds – as far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except for the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons – have become a well-known sight.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago. The Castle Guard is manned by various units – at the 2009 Cape Town Military Tattoo its soldiers will be provided by the Cape Town Rifles (Dukes).” (CTMT 2010)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2012

“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally-based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds – as far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except for the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons – have become a well-known sight.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago. The Castle Guard is manned by various units.” (CTMT 2012)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2013

“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally-based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds – have become a well-known sight. As far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except for the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago. The Castle Guard is manned by various units.”

At the start of the Tattoo, the Castle Guard will lock the gates of the Castle.” (CTMT 2013)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2014

“The Castle Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied greatly in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally-based uniforms and replica 18th century halberds – have become a well-known sight. As far as is known, the Castle Guard is the only unit in the world except for the Vatican Guard to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the “Key Ceremony”, a ritual closely based on the early-morning drills of 300 years ago. The Castle Guard is manned by various units.”

At the start of the Tattoo, the Castle Guard will lock the gates of the Castle.” (CTMT 2014)

 

Programme Notes: CTMT 2015

“The Castle Ceremonial Guard was formed in 1986 to provide the Castle of Good Hope with its own ceremonial element. Originally a 48-man unit, its size has varied in subsequent years, but the guardsmen in their unique traditionally based uniform and replica 18th century halberds  have become a well-known sight. As far as is known, the Castle Ceremonial Guard is the only  unit in the world, except for the Vatican Guard, to parade regularly with these fearsome weapons.

At 10am and noon on every weekday morning, the Castle Guardsmen formally open the Castle for visitors by carrying out the Key Ceremony – a ritual closely based on the actual early-morning drills of 300 years ago. The Castle Ceremonial Guard is manned by various units – this year it is the Cape Town Highlanders. At the start of the tattoo, they will lock the gates of the Castle.

The Closing of the Castle, which signals the start of the tattoo, is derived from the actual early 18th century drills, when the Castle was unlocked in the morning and locked again in the evening. Members of the audience will see the Castle Ceremonial Guard halberdiers fetch the key to the Van der Stel Gate, lock it and return the key. What they do not realise is that the full locking-up ritual is carried out, even though part of it – the sending out of sentries to ensure that no enemies lurk outside the gates – is not visible to them. In this way, the spiritual authenticity is maintained.

Early Cape Town was so small that patrols were not sent out to summon the soldiers back to their barracks in the evening. Instead, drummers would take post on the Leerdam Bastion,  which was nearest the town and beat out the urgent call, which both tavern keepers and their soldier customers knew meant Doe den tap toe (close the beer-barrel taps). This ritual will be reenacted at this year’s tattoo, with drummers from the CTH Drums and Pipes beating out the ‘Tap Toe’ on the Leerdam Bastion.” (CTMT 2015)