Navy back on show with a mini festival

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“The Peoples’ Navy” will strut its stuff for South Africans again, albeit on a smaller scale than the Navy Festival staged at Naval Base (NB) Simon’s Town for many years.

A statement from SA Navy (SAN) NB Simon’s Town Public Relations has it the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is “all systems go for a mini navy festival” from 23 to 25 September – the first in five years. The venue is Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront to tie in with the SAN Right of Entry to Simon’s Town, part of the City of Cape Town metro, and Heritage Day events, seemingly in accordance with what immediate past SAN Chief, Mosiwa Hlongwane, said when making public cancellation of the last Navy Festival in 2018.

He said in January 2018 the festival could be held every second year or moved to other ports. “The non-hosting of the Navy Festival is not indefinite and the SA Navy will continue exploring viable options to circumvent budgetary constraints,” he said in a statement.

The NB Simon’s Town statement has it “the SAN is eager to reconnect with its communities through the historically popular SAN Festival. The relaunch comes after a long pause with the last festival taking place in 2017.  This year’s festival will take the form of a mini festival in collaboration with the V&A Waterfront with plans afoot to reinstitute a fully-fledged festival toward the end of 2024”.

This programme for the V&A event features a number of, as yet unspecified  navy ships and a type 209 submarine open to the public as well as capability exhibits and displays. These include precision drill, officers’ sword drill, sea cadet precision drill and polished by performances the SAN band.

“Capetonians are advised to pack sunscreen, sun hats and join their navy for an action packed programme from 23-25 September,” the statement reads.