Veterans spit and polish parade at Military History Museum


The premier showcase of South African military history – the National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg – will be on the receiving end of copious quantities of elbow grease at month-end in response to a call for help.

The call will see the three SA Air Force Association (SAAFA) Gauteng branches – East Rand, Johannesburg and Pretoria – add their sweat equity to that of the Gunner’s Association, the Armour Association and the Steel Helmet Shellhole to spit and polish exhibits presently reported as being in “a sad state”. The call for clean-up assistance was made by Roy Andersen, former chief: reserves.

Volunteers bearing the necessary cleaning materials are asked to report at the museum on the northern side of the Johannesburg Zoo at 09h00 for a four hour work session. When the job is done, as it were, the camaraderie of old soldiers will be rolled out at the MOTH Shellhole in nearby Parkhurst.

The Museum of Military History was officially opened as the SA National War Museum in 1947 by then South African Prime Minister, Field Marshal Jan Smuts.

As with much else South African post-1994, restructuring in 1999 saw the War Museum amalgamate with two Pretoria institutions – the Transvaal Museum of Natural History and the National Cultural History Museum. Collectively they were the Northern Flagship Institution renamed Ditsong: Museums of South Africa in 2009. Five other history institutions – Kruger, Tswaing Meteorite, Pioneer, Sammy Marks and Willem Prinsloo Agricultural – in and around Pretoria are now in the Ditsong stable.