The SA War Graves Society (SAWGS) exists solely to restore and maintain war graves and memorials and has an ongoing need for funding as all its work is voluntary.
This saw a veteran military fair held recently at the MOTH Dickie Fritz Shellhole in Edenvale to raise funds.
In its most recent newsletter SAWGS points out it “urgently” needs to complete and maintain the Boer War Jameson Raid British volunteer grave in Randfontein, the Johanna van der Merwe Voortrekker Monument in Linden, Johannesburg and another five projects including concentration camps in the Johannesburg area as well as the Klerksdorp cemetery.
“Due to lack of funding we are unable to restore or maintain any of these sites with the exception of the Johanna van der Merwe Voortrekker Monument where we have physical work input by the local community.”
This has seen SAWGS partner with Die Transvaal Voortrekkers, Linden Bowling Club, the Residents Association of Linden, Risidale, Montroux and ward councillor Nicole van Dyk in an association. The association has started the process of adopting the Emma Park koppie on which the monument is erected. To date missing fence panels have been replaced and parts of broken fencing repaired with Beagle Watch suppling boards and patrolling the area.
SAWGS efforts are aimed at preserving, restoring and maintaining war graces, concentration camp sites and historic monuments often the targets of grave robbers, vandals and not maintained by local authorities.
The success of the July militaria fair has encouraged SAWGS to the extent a second event is on the drawing board. The society will again combine with the dickie Fritz Shellhole to host another veterans’ military fair along with a display of military vehicles and equipment on November 3.