On Saturday morning, after a brief hike in Newlands Forest, we headed down into the Cape Town City Centre. Neither of us has been there for… um… months? Years? Well, the last time we were near the centre was in November for the Cape Town Military Tattoo at the Castle of Good Hope (which I’ve been meaning to blog about, but haven’t gotten around to yet).
The Cape Town Highlanders, founded in 1885 by a group of volunteer soldiers, who were descendants of Scottish immigrants to South Africa, were celebrating their 125th birthday on Saturday. The Highlanders (homepage) are a mechanised infantry unit in the South African Army, and they have a long and glorious history of fighting in many wars. In more recent years, they have been (and are still) deployed as part of the country’s peace-keeping forces both in SA and around the African continent.
On Saturday, they celebrated 125 years of continuous service to the people of Cape Town and South Africa, with a parade through central Cape Town (Cape Town Highlanders Celebrate 125th Birthday with Freedom March).
At midday on Saturday, they marched from their Regimental Headquarters at the Castle of Good Hope up Darling Street and to the City Hall. Alderman Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor, inspected the regiment, and confirmed “their right to exercise the Freedom of the City”. This means that they can “march through the city centre ‘with flags waving, bands playing and bayonets fixed'”.
After a short service and prayer, the Company, led by Officer Commanding of the Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel André van der Bijl, and the magnificent pipe band, marched around the block and back to the Castle. Here, they collected the rest of the Battalion and a convoy of Ratel armoured vehicles. They marched up Strand Street, left into Adderley and left into Darling Street once more, past the City Hall and back to the Castle.
We only witnessed the first half of the parade, as I hadn’t realised that there was a second half! But I hope you’ll enjoy the slideshow nonetheless.