The May public holiday has become synonymous with what is Gauteng’s biggest military and history fair and this year is no different.
Tuesday, May 1 will be the eighth time the Voortrekker Monument precinct south of the Pretoria CBD, has hosted the event and this year it is “bursting at the seams” said organiser Geraldine Paulsen.
“What makes the 2018 fair more special is it’s the first time we have the full support of SA Army chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam.”
This means military history enthusiasts who make the trip to Pretoria on Tuesday will be able to see equipment and vehicles from no less than six SA Army formations. They are air defence, armour, engineering, infantry, technical services and training.
A full arena programme starts at 11h00 with the expertise of the display drill platoon of 1 SA Artillery Regiment with a three-ship Alouette helicopter flypast to follow. This will be followed by a Group 73 helicopter demonstration including a canine display.
An added bonus for military history buffs this year is the continuous screening of “My Father’s War” and “Angola the War” in the Monument restaurant below the amphitheatre.
The Voortrekker Monument’s own cannon – Susanna, donated by Cape Town High School in 2003 – will be fired at 13h00. Susanna is a British six pound gunade ship’s cannon circa 1820. The Cannon Society of South Africa sponsors shots fired by Susanna on the first Friday of every month. They will also display miniature cannons at the fair.
Old stalwarts and regular exhibitors, including the Zwartkop Scale Modellers’, will have large displays and five local knife makers will exhibit their wares.
Military books aplenty will be for sale, among others by Wynand du Toit and Louis Lubbe, who will on hand for autographs. Dealers in militaria, books, medals, uniforms and military art will also be at the fair.
“About 40 military re-enactors will be on hand with displays from WW II, Vietnam and the Border War. For extra colour, there will even be a few East Germans, which we have not had before,” she said.
Gates open at 09h00 and the fair ends to 15h00 with an entrance fee of R30 per car, regardless of occupant numbers.