Saturday, October 31, 2009

South African Defence Force Wall of Remembrance

Moved parents and next-of-kin of South African soldiers walk away after they one by one had the opportunity to lay a wreath under the name of their child at the SA Defence Force’s Wall of Remembrance. The Wall was erected in recognition to the soldiers who had died in military operations from 1961 to 1994. Dr. Mulder, who already a year ago suggested that such a Wall should be erected, expressed his gratitude toward Gen. Opperman and the organizers for the erection of the Wall and for the moving and well-organized function.


Dr. Mulder thereafter referred
to the fact that in addition to the ANC members, the Cubans and even the South American Che Guevara’s is given recognition at Freedom Park, but that it was decided not to give recognition to these South African Defence Force soldiers at Freedom Park.

Dr. Pieter Mulder, FF Plus leader, with Mr. Van den Berg with the wreath which the FF Plus had laid at the Wall of Remembrance. Dr. Mulder thereafter referred to the fact that in addition to the ANC members, the Cubans and even the South American Che Guevara’s is given recognition at Freedom Park, but that it was decided not to give recognition to these South African Defence Force soldiers at Freedom Park. “That is why the FF Plus is glad to be part of today’s events to give recognition to these soldiers at the Voortrekker Monument in this specific way,” Dr. Mulder said.

Inauguration of the Wall of Remembrance at the Voortrekker Monument on 25 October 2009

“Emotions ran high. It was clear amongst the next-of-kin that the death of loved ones after so many years still causes such intense emotions.”

This is how Col. Piet Uys, general secretary of the Freedom Front Plus and veteran of Operation Savannah (1975), said following the inauguration of the SA Defence Force’s Wall of Remembrance on Sunday 25 October 2009 at the Voortrekker Monument’s Heritage Terrain.

“The fact that I have the opportunity to honour the deceased soldiers, some of whom I had known personally, is a great privilege for me,” Uys said.

Uys added that the events had taken place with military precision. The events were attended by more than 800 people of whom a great number had been the next-of-kin of the deceased soldiers.

Dr. Pieter Mulder (FF Plus leader and deputy minister of Agriculture) laid a wreath on behalf of the FF Plus.

The Wall, which was erected under the leadership of the Voortrekker Monument’s directors, gives recognition to the members of the South African Defence Force (SADF) who had sacrificed their lives in the period from 31 May 1961 (Declaration of the Republic) until 27 April 1994 (the establishment of the SA National Defence Force).

The approximate 2500 names which appear on the Wall include the names of deceased SA Defence Force members who had been killed during operations. These names have been marked clearly on the wall. The names of other members who had died on duty as a result of other incidents also appear on the wall.

Homage is also paid to members of the Allied Forces who had been killed during operations undertaken with the SA Defence Force as well as members of other departments and civilians who had died as a result of enemy actions.

The Voortrekker Monument intends to add to the Wall with the names of more deceased which may come to light.

The commissioning of the SADF Wall of Remembrance, which was erected at a cost of approximately R650 000, coincides with the opening of the Garden of Statues. Statues which are threatened in other places will in future be considered for the transfer to the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Garden in the interest of the retention and protection of the statues.

Statues have already been taken into the Garden of Statues amongst which 32 Battalion Honorary Log which originates from Buffalo in the Caprivi. The Honorary Log, which weighs more than a ton, first went to Pomfret and Zeerust before it was recently erected at the Voortrekker Monument’s Heritage Garden. It contains the names of the members of 32 Battalion who had died during battles.

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