The Preparations continue for the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2012

Exciting update: An article I wrote about the preparations behind the scenes has been published on the Reserve Force Division website! Here is the PDF document.

View of the main arena

I paid another visit to the Castle today to see what was happening in the run-up to the Tattoo. The mood was one of excitement and anticipation. It is a challenging task to coordinate the rehearsals of all the participating acts in the show, and to make sure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.

After all, there are only two more days left until the event officially opens on Wednesday night, 31 October 2012, with a full dress rehearsal scheduled for Tuesday night, 30 October 2012.

Today, the groundsmen were busy nailing down the black plastic sheeting that is used as a protective cover for the historic paving stones leading from the main entrance gate to the Kat balcony and to the archway, through which one accesses the rear courtyard. The sheets also help to create a more even surface for the performers, as the paving stones are rather uneven. The heat of the sun, beating down on these sheets, very soon made them unpleasantly hot, and even though I was wearing boots, I could feel the heat radiating from the ground.

The Able Seamen and Seamen of the SA Navy Cadets are looking very smart in their blue uniforms

The construction of the boardwalk at the back of one of the side stands was not yet complete, but it was looking really good!

When I arrived, the SA Army Band Cape Town were on the stage, sorting out their march-on and march-off; the dimensions of the arena and the positioning of the stands are important factors, as they determine when and where they need to turn.

A group of seamen and able seamen cadets from the SA Navy in their striking blue uniforms practiced a marching drill under the instructions of WO2 Nolan Herne; the young men and women in the squad seemed a little nervous of all the people watching them from the sidelines. The South African Medical Health Services band ran through their routine, trying to work out how best to utilise the entire space, while also making sure that the spectators on the side stands would also have good lines of sight. The lovely long-legged girls of the Celtic Dance group briefly practiced their routine on the stage, much to the delight of the spectators.

The stone pathway leading to the main gate

I took some photos from outside the Castle today as well. It had been another hot day in the Mother City, but luckily there was a little bit of a breeze fluttering the flags ontop of the Leerdam bastion. The flags belong to various periods in the history of the Castle; from right to left (as seen from the outside of the Castle), they are:

  • The orange, white and blue flag of the United Netherlands (De Prinzenvlag) 1652 – ±1654 and 1655 ‑ 1695 (occasionally)
  • The Union Flag of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland 1795 ‑ 1800
  • The Statenvlag (Batavian Republic) 1803 ‑ 1806
  • British Union Jack 1801 ‑ 1803 and 1806 ‑ 1957
  • South Africa (Union and later Republic) – 1928 ‑ 1994
  • Republic of South Africa – 1994 onwards

The final rehearsal before lunchtime was of the emergency evacuation plan, under the guidance of Lt Col Eddie Nijeboer, who is responsible for event safety. The purpose was to make sure that the ushers and the guards were familiar with the emergency exit routes, the locations of the exits and the process of escorting the spectators safely off the stands and out of the Castle.

Tomorrow promises to be a very full day – and evening – of rehearsals, as well as a march through central Cape Town with the participating groups to promote the event among locals and visitors. I’m rather looking forward to that!

6 thoughts on “The Preparations continue for the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2012

  1. Interesting to see they’re using the old Dutch flag with the orange, white and blue. It’s now sometimes waved as an extreme right wing – ‘Holland for the old Hollanders’ – symbol. But a part of history of course.

  2. Great photos Reggie. I was interested to learn about the background of the flags.

    I’m thinking of changing my theme. I remember a discussion you had a while back with another blogger over which theme to use: 2010 or 2011? Are you pleased with your choice?

    • Hello Rosie – yes, I also found it interesting that there have been different periods of occupation by other nations.

      Yes, I am very pleased with my theme thus far. I do occasionally check out the other themes, but so far, this one is working well for me. It has enough of the functionality that I want/need – and it does (for the moment at least!) still allow me to turn off that darn ‘infinite scrolling’ feature that WordPress rolled out a while back, and that is a big plus for me.

      The thing is, I have barely enough time to blog as it is. So I don’t want to waste any more time testing out new themes right now, nor to re-format articles and header images etc…

      • I want to change because the photo (at the top of my theme) is only about one inch and very few photos can fit into that format. When I looked at yours it’s about one and a half inches.

        OMG do you have to reformat each and every post? I don’t have time to do that!

      • Hi Rosie, well, not all the formatting carried over smoothly when I changed themes. But it was primarily the header images, as these have different dimensions in the various themes (I think mine is 1000 x 211 pixels). So yes, in theory, I should go back and re-upload new custom header images for my older posts, but honestly, who has the time for that!

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