Moving Cape Town’s cenotaph from its present position at the end of Adderley Street makes “a lot of sense” the oldest military veteran organisation in South Africa maintains. Cape Town metro wants the memorial to South Africans who died fighting in the two world wars moved to make way for a bus station as part of the city’s public transport system upgrade.
“We have no problem with the cenotaph being moved,” said Brigadier (ret) John del Monte of the SA Legion, which earlier this year marked its 90th anniversary. “Apart from the fact that it causes major traffic disruptions every year when the annual Armistice Day parade is held for both those attending and troops in the marchpast, the cenotaph is not easily accessible to those wanting to visit and pay their respects at other times. It is on an island with heavy traffic all round and we are all in favour of it being moved.”
City management has proposed three different sites for the war memorial, The NewAge newspaper reports. These are either on the median of the Heerengracht, at the memorial garden in the Company Gardens or on the Grand Parade, the daily says.
“Our suggestion is for it to be re-sited on the Grand Parade. This is a centre of military culture in Cape Town with the Drill Hall, the Castle and Boer War memorial all in close proximity. Additionally the old City Hall containing the Roll of Honour is also nearby,” he said.
Metro management yesterday issued notice of a second round of public comment of moving the massive granite plinth with its statue. This follows comments received during the first round from interested professional and civic organisations as well as members of the public.
Del Monte said her knew of objections but these were more “sentimental” than anything else.
“People say the cenotaph stands on the point where soldiers marched to sail for the front during World War One. This is not actually so as they marched in ranks of three from the Castle to the harbour to embark. “It also has to be born in mind various developments have changed the waterfront area leaving the memorial, as it were, ‘high and dry’.”
Another who is “totally in favour” of the Cenotaph being moved is retired SA Navy Admiral Arne Söderlund. “Taking it away from Adderley Street can only be good in terms of preservation of the country’s proud military history. If it is re-sited on the Grand Parade it will be far more accessible to those, and there are many, who have a real interest in our military history and traditions.”