Commemoration Wall for SADF members
The Board of Directors of the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site gave its permission in 2009 for a SADF Wall of Remembrance to be erected to commemorate members of the SA Defence Force who passed away in service of their country.
The total building costs of the Wall would have been R650 000,00 but sizeable cost free support was provided by especially persons in the building and granite business. As a result of further contributions no taxpayers’ or other VTM money was used in the building of the Wall. Indeed, money that was left over was placed in a trust account for the exclusive future use for the Wall of Remembrance and the Sculpture Garden that was also inaugurated on 25 October.
The Wall was inaugurated on 25 October 2009 and more than 1 000 people attended the occasion. It was viewed overall as a very stirring occasion with considerable participation and appreciation from the many next-of-kin. Consensus was reached that the service would become an annual event and that it will take place on the Sunday nearest to 31 May from the beginning of 2011.
Amongst the attendees were more than 100 veterans and next-of-kin from 32 Battalion who came from as far as Pomfret, Mafikeng and Zeerust. In addition to a wreath that was placed at the Wall, the veterans from 32 Battalion had an additional commemoration service and rose laying ceremony at their Tree of Remembrance after the main Wall inauguration.
Nearly 100 wreaths and crosses were laid/planted during the inauguration ceremony. More than 110 wreaths and crosses will be laid/planted during the wreath laying ceremony on 15 August. This includes a couple travelling all the way from Australia to do so as well as another couple from Brazil.
Up to now there have been 2 489 names of the Wall of Remembrance. A further 27 names have been added recently of SADF members who had passed on under the qualifying circumstances between the years 1961-1994.
In the absence of the SANDF bands (as the SANDF did not accept the invitation to take part) alternative arrangements have been made. An organ is used for background music, military veterans are used as guards and flag ordnances and members of The Voortrekkers were used as ushers. This automatically lead to a bigger involvement from the youth.
Since the inauguration of the Wall the VTM has been inundated with compliments concerning the appearance of the Wall of Remembrance and all it entails as well as the course of the ceremony. In addition a large number of people have since then specially come to visit the Wall and therefore seating for 700 people will be available on 15 August.
The fact that the Wall is visible, within reach and accessible for all visitors to the VTM Heritage Site and because it is in a safe area, makes that it has advantages above any other similar Wall in South Africa. Therefore it is not strange that more and more military units prefer to use the site for their commemoration services.