Update: An article I wrote about this event was published on the Reserve Force Division website. Here is the PDF document.
During the school holiday week of 27 September to 01 October 2010, the drill squad of the Western Province School Marching Drill and Exhibition Association (WP SMDEA) received some intensive training by members of the South African Army Band Cape Town, in preparation for the Cape Town Military Tattoo to be held at the Castle of Good Hope from 03 to 06 November 2010. The drill squad will form part of the pre-show entertainment on each night of the Tattoo, to illustrate the involvement of the Defence Reserves with youth development and skills training.
The drill squad is made up of learners from various schools around the Western Cape, including primary schools and high schools in Mitchell’s Plain, and high schools in Manenberg, Beaufort West and the Strand.
To give you a little of the background of this program (all the information here was extracted from the handout kindly provided by Mr Saeed Ruiters):
The Marching Drill Programme is an initiative of Portland High School in Mitchell’s Plain; it was introduced by Mr Saeed Ruiters as a Physical Education Task in the Life Orientation Subject in 2007, with the assistance of Mr Dawood Davids, a community member. It culminated in the First Interclass Marching Drill Competition held at Portland High School.
In 2008, the South African Police Service of Mitchell’s Plain was involved in a youth programme called the ‘Twinning Project’; it was decided to incorporate the Marching Drill Programme into that, and to roll this out to as many schools in the area as possible. They were, after all, pursuing the same objectives: improving discipline in the schools, generating pride in the school uniform and in being part of a team, teaching leadership abilities, among other things.
This roll-out proved very successful – so much, in fact, that the British Metropolitan Police and the British High Commissioner from London came to visit Portlands High School to witness the programme first-hand. Duly impressed, the British Embassy in Cape Town pledged their support for the programme, even sponsoring a trophy. This led to the Second Interclass Marching Drill Competition at Portland High School, and the First Interschool Marching Drill Competition held at Westridge Sports Complex.
In 2009, Mr Kader Miller and Mr Nazeem Davids of S.A. Drumline became part of the Marching Drill Programme. They sponsored the bass drums at the participating schools, and also donated a floating trophy for the highest points obtained. The Second Interschool Marching Drill Competition was duly held at Westridge Sports Complex.
In 2010, the South African National Defence Force became involved, when the Portland High School was invited to perform at the Castle in Cape Town. A Mitchell’s Plain Zonal Team (or drill squad) was assembled, and they gave numerous eye-catching performances at the Castle as well as at the various Fan Parks during the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
And now, the drill squad is scheduled to perform at the Castle during the Cape Town Military Tattoo. Isn’t that marvellous?
In order to prepare them for this event, Staff Sergeant Jerome Mecloen and WO2 André van Schalkwyk of the SA Army Band CT took the youngsters under their wing for the duration of the mid-term school holidays.
After a long, hard Monday spent drilling on the parade ground at Youngsfield Military Base in Wynberg, Cape Town, and practicing their routines, on Tuesday the youngsters were given a special treat in the form of a visit to Simon’s Town and the Naval Dockyard. See Visit to Naval Dockyard.
The whole of Wednesday was spent on the parade ground once more, with the learners being put through their paces and rehearsing their routines.
On Thursday, as a reward for their hard work and discipline, they were given an interactive and educational tour around Fort iKapa in Goodwood, which is currently the only base in the country where all the Reserve units in the province are located. See Visit to Fort iKapa.
All the training of the previous days culminated in a stirring performance on Friday morning, when the entire band in their striking black and yellow uniforms proudly showed off their skills in front of teachers, military personnel and invited guests. See Training at Youngsfield.