Pretoria: The Freedom Park, in conjunction with the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site, will on Sunday host an annual memorial service to commemorate members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) who passed away serving the country.
The SANDF Wall of Remembrance memorial service was inaugurated on 25 October 2009. Consensus was reached that the service would become an annual event and that it will take place on the Sunday nearest to 31 May.
To date, there are about 2 489 names at the Wall of Remembrance. A further 27 names were added recently of members who had passed on under the qualifying circumstances between the years 1961-1994.
The commemoration comes at a time when Africa is commemorating Africa Month which calls for unity, reconciliation and peace.
“It is therefore befitting that this gesture of unity and reconciliation is commemorated at this memorable month. Forgiveness is a sign of strength not weakness, this memorial service ceremony demonstrate character and strengths on the part of former sworn enemies,” said Freedom Park acting CEO Jane Mufamadi.
Representatives of the SA National Military Veterans’ Association (SANMVA), APLA Military Veterans’ Association (MVA), AZANLA MVA, BDF MVA, the (ex-SANDF) Council of Military Veterans’ Organizations (CMVO) and MK MVA, together with one representative each from the SANDF and the Department of Military Veterans, will conduct a joint wreath laying ceremony at Freedom Park and at Voortrekker Monument on the day.
After the wreath laying ceremony at the Freedom Park, guests will depart to the SANDF Wall of Remembrance at the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site using the reconciliation road which was officially opened by President Jacob Zuma in 2011.
“This event further recognises our painful past we all had to endure as a nation whilst understanding that the future ahead can only be better shaped through unity, nation building and reconciliation.
“It also clearly illustrates our joint commitment to support our men and women in uniform who serve the country all over Africa,” said Major General Gert Opperman.
Mufamadi said: “We are humbled and indeed honoured to share this sacred space with veterans from all sides of the struggle for freedom who chose peace and reconciliation to shape the kind of society we all enjoy to live in today.
“It is through their heroic sacrifices including those who paid the ultimate price that South Africa is free from all forms of oppressions today”.
The wreath laying event will commence at Freedom Park (Isivivane) at 7am.
The main event at Voortrekker Monument will start at 9am.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS