True to the Infantry Formation
’s tradition, the memorial began with a sermon, in this case by Chaplain Motsamai Johannes Modibedi. As he addressed the assembled guests at Fort Klapperkop outside Pretoria, I noticed the passionate chaplain launched into a hymn without waiting for the band, but he apologised and all was well. He said:
Now brothers and sisters. These heroes and heroines they had a choice to make. They could have chosen to retreat. But they knew that whatever they were doing was for the whole nation. And they knew that the nation needed to be saved from the attacks of the enemies, and they kept on right to the bitter end, they did not retreat. And therefore, the tree that they have nurtured, the tree that they have nourished with their blood, you and I are reaping the fruit of that tree. The have missed that, but we are reaping from it. Both Black and White, we are living in harmony because of these men, if they had not done this, you can imagine, what would have happened to us.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, which was attended by many international military attaches as well as serving members and veterans, Chief of Staff of the Infantry Formation, Brigadier General Krubert Nel recalled that in 2010 only one Infanteer had died. He pointed out that South African Infanteers had been deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
and Sudan and that they had shown “South African Infanteers are not to be trifled with.”