The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 12 No 2 - December 2001


Cape Town...

The Castle of Good Hope
I B Greeff

Built between 1666 and 1679, the Castle is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. In 1664, there were renewed rumours of war between Britain and the Netherlands. The Netherlands feared a British attack on the Cape. Zacharias Wagenaar, governor at the Cape, was instructed to build a five-pointed stone castle - the Castle as we know it today.

In 1936, the Castle of Good Hope was declared a national monument. It houses the William Fehr Collection of historic artworks, the Castle Military Museum which depicts Cape military history, and ceremonial facilities for the traditional Cape regiments.

The Castle opens daily at 09h00 and closes at 16h00, Mondays to Sundays. It is closed on Christmas and New Year. Guided tours are conducted daily (except on Sundays) at 11hOO, 12h00, and 14h00. Self-guided tours are available by means of a map in seven languages, namely Afrikaans, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French and Italian. Entrance fees are R15,00 for adults; R 6,50 for students and children over five years; and R 12,00 for pensioners. Booked school groups pay R4,00 per child. The entrance fee is half-price on Sundays. The Castle also offers parking for the disabled as well as a guided video tour. Traditional ceremonies take place during weekdays at lOhOO (the Key Ceremony), and 1 2h00 (the Changing of the Guard). We look forward to seeing you at the Castle of Good Hope.

South African Naval Museum
Cdr W M Bisset

The story of the South African Navy's illustrious naval tradition is told in the SA Naval Museum which is housed in the historic Royal Naval Masthouse in the West Dockyard in Simon's Town. The building was built in 1815 soon after the Royal Navy moved its naval establishment here permanently. The building also houses St George's Dockyard Church which is open to the public and may be the only upstairs church in Africa.

The museum has the finest collection of South African warship models and a small art collection. It has important collections of naval medals, uniforms, flags, badges, buttons, weapons and memorabilia. There are naval guns and a Second World War air raid shelter in the grounds. The ground floor displays include the operations room and control centre of a Daphne Class submarine and the bridge of a Ton Class minesweeper.

Access to the Naval Museum in the West Dockyard is via St George's Street opposite the Clock Tower. The SA Naval Museum is open daily between 10h00 and 16h00 and is closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Further information can be obtained from the SA Naval Museum, Private Bag Xl, Simon's Town, 7995, Tel: (021) 787 4635 or Fax:(021) 787 4116.

The Naval Museum is supported by the Naval Heritage Trust and Society, which publish a periodical and books on South African naval topics. Applications should be sent to the Secretary, Naval Heritage Society, Private Bag Xl, Simon's Town, 7995. The annual subscription is R50,00.


The War Museum of the Boer Republics
Johann Hattingh

As the only museum dedicated completely to the Anglo-Boer War, the War Museum of the Boer Republics' latest activities have been dominated by the centennial commemoratiuon of this war. Thus, more events and publications were generated than usual.

Since 1901 was the year in which the toll of the concentration camps was felt most acutely, it was only natural that this year's commemorative events were focussed on the 'scorched earth' tactics of the British forces. The annual Bittereinder Memorial Lecture on 31 Mat 2001 by Prof L J Hattingh handled this topic in a comprehensive and responsible manner. On 5 and 6 October 2001, the museum hosted an event arranged by the Afrikaner population of the northern provinces, focussing on the camps and the suffering and deaths of women and children. The museum published a very successful book in co-operation with the daily Free State newspaper, Volksblad, based on anecdotes of the war as told to the writers by their ancestors who had experienced the war. The book was so successful that a reprint is in progress and planning is under way for a second volume. The museum's mouthpiece, Knapsak, was also transformed from an informative tabloid-type newsletter to a historical journey, publishing shorter histories which, in the past, have never had and adequate medium.

With the centenary drawing to aclose, the museum is involved in the planning of suitable functions which will conclude the commemoration in a way worthy of the efforts of a number of interest groups.


The Voortrekker Monument
Cecilia Kruger

The privatisation of the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site in 1993 marked the beginning of an exciting new era for this Section 21 Company. One of the first issues was the takeover from the Northern Flagship Institution (NFI) of the Voortrekker Museum on the premises by the Monument Council in 2000. Secondly, the museum displays, housed in a separate building on the premises, were transferred to the Cenotaph Hall ofthe monument. This move has enabled more visitors, with limited tieme, to view the exhibits. The third phase in the development programme involved the establishment of a completely new display in the basement of the monument. This is a new, modern exhibition on the migration of the pioneers into the interior from the Cape. In the display, this migration, widely known as the Great Trek, has been put into context by looking briefly at other migrations around the world and in Africa. Dioramas and information panels are used to describe the daily life of the pioneers.

Cecilia Kruger is the manager of heritage development, Voortrekker Monument.


South African National Museum of Military History
Susanne Blendulf

The South African National Museum of Military History today forms part of the Northern Flagship Institute (NFI), the result of the amalgamation of the national museums in Gauteng in the late 1990s. The Museum has a substantial collection of South African militaria, displayed in its twin Bellman aircraft hangars - artifacts in their own right - and in its gardens. Aircraft, artillery, armoured vehicles, small arms, edged weapons, flags, signalling equipment, uniforms, medals and badges make up the bulk of the exhibits. The museum also looks after the official South African Second World War and contemporary military art collections. The extensive Reference Library and Photo Archives, consulted by researchers from around the world, comprise a wide selection of books, pamphlets, primary documents and photographs dealing with South African and more general military history topics. The facilities of the museum's W F Faulds' VC Conference & Functions Centre are available for hire to clients looking for a unique venue for their special event.

The museum, situated in beautiful Saxonwold, is open to the public from 09h00 to 16h30 daily, closed only on Christmas Day and Good Friday. The Museum's website is at

Light Horse Regimental Museum
Heinrich Janzen, Curator

The Light Horse Regimental Museum was established in 1999 as part of the regiment's centenary, and was opened officially by the then Officer Commanding, Lieut Col W Alberts, on 3 September 1999. The museum is situated at the Regimental HQ, Mount Collins, 9 Southway, Kelvin, Sandton, and the collections are available for view, and for research purposes, to members of the public, on invitation and by appointment.

In the museum's collections are regimental silver, paintings and table silver, regimental artifacts, photographs, uniforms and documents. The Light Horse Regiment has been granted the freedom of three cities, and the Freedom Scrolls are also on display. In the main hall is a photographic display of all commanding officers, RSMs, honorary colonels and colonels-in-chief. There is also an extensive documentary and photographic archive.

Outside the museum is a regimental Garden of Remembrance.

The museum is run under the auspices of the Regimental Council, an appointed curator and a museum committee. The premises are available for military or private functions by appointment. Curator Heinrich Janzen can be contacted at 082 809 6039.


Fort Schanskop
Cecilia Kruger

After the Voortrekker Monument bought Fort Schanskop in 2000, a photographic display on various aspects of the Anglo-Boer War was mounted there. Photographs on the role of the horse in the war are on view in Stal, and the history of the Staatsartillerie is portrayed in Officieren. An overview of the course of the war is provided in Proviand, while portraits of Boer generals, on loan from the Army College, and short biographical sketches adorn the walls of the conference venue, Manschappen. The remaining rooms house photographic displays on the arms and ammunition of Boer and Brit, the history of Fort Schanskop, and medical conditions during the war. A number of items on loan from the War Museum of the Boer Republics will be displayed in the near future. Another interesting development was the discovery of the Fort's midden, which led to the excavation of many interesting artifacts which will be displayed in one of the rooms.

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