Armed Forces Day
Military parades, combat demos, ship tours, music concert, fun walk/run; the SANDF commemorates the sinking of the SS Mendi from 16-21 Feb.
Armed Forces Day was initiated in 2012 to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi on 21 February 1917 in the English Channel. The troopship that was rammed by the SS Darro off St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight with the loss of 628 members of the then SA Native Labour Corps remains South Africa’s worst naval tragedy.
On 16 February a fan park will be opened at Durban Old Drive Inn, which will allow the public to witness SANDF military equipment, military music, precision drill sessions, bridge-laying demonstrations, and interact with recruitment teams. The Fan Park is open to public until 21 Feb 2017 and will provide live-link to view adjacent events on television big screens. Daily from 09h00 – 18h00.
A live military combat capability demonstration will be held on 18 February at The New Beach and will be open to the public. The demonstration will start at 10h00 and last for an hour. That same day, there will be a gala music concert at Durban City Hall which will feature military musicians and showcase musical career opportunities in the SANDF. This event starts at 18h30.
On 19 February a fun walk/run will start at 06h00, open to the public, at Blue Lagoon and end at Ushaka Marine.
The following day the SANDF will rehearse the parade scheduled for 21 February. On the night of the 20th, a night shoot will be held at Blue Lagoon starting at 19h00 and lasting around 45 minutes. It will be open to the public.
The highlight of the armed forces ceremony will be 21 February when President officiates over the Armed Forces Day parade, which will start at 10h00 near Moses Mabhida Stadium. After the parade, a capability demonstration will be held at Blue Lagoon. This will be open to the public but also visible at the fan park. The SANDF will stage a hostage rescue as part of the capability demonstration.
The SA Navy plans to have its supply and replenishment vessel, SAS Drakensberg; the hydrographic vessel, SAS Protea; a Valour Class frigate; a Heroine Class submarine; a Warrior Class offshore patrol vessel and a River Class mine counter-measures vessel in the port city for the duration of the week around Armed Forces Day. Ships will be berthed in Durban harbour and will be open to the public on 18 and 19 February. A wide variety of aircraft, including Gripen fighter jets, are expected to take part as well, along with hundreds of assorted military vehicles.
Events open to the public are free of charge.
Where: Moses Mabhida Stadium, 44 Isaiah Ntshangase Road