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article imageSouth African Armed Forces Day to continue with reconciliation Special

By Christopher Szabo     Feb 24, 2013 in World
Atteridgeville - Almost two decades into its democracy, South Africa is still working on reconciliation between the black majority and the white minority, while trying to come to a common interpretation of the past.
Friday 22 February was the inaugural Armed Forces Day, where President Jacob Zuma was to have addressed South Africans and laid a wreath. He, however, was called away at the last minute, much to the disappointment of the public and the media contingent.
Defence Minister Mapisa Nqakula addresses the enthusiastic crowd.
Defence Minister Mapisa Nqakula addresses the enthusiastic crowd.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula stood in for him, and accompanied by some of the country's top-ranking generals, including General Solly Shoke, Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Mapisa-Nqakula laid the wreath at the SS Mendi Memorial which forms part of the work of the South African Legion of Military Veterans, some of whose members were invited to the wreath-laying ceremony. Digital Journal was there but was cut out of the convoy by a VIP, leading to an unintended sight-seeing tour of Atteridgeville.
South Africa s defence minister lays a wreath as members of the SA Legion look on.
South Africa's defence minister lays a wreath as members of the SA Legion look on.
The convoy then moved on to another part of Atteridgeville township near Pretoria. This was the Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium, where the SANDF was starting a large parade, described as an “amended brigade”, that is, some 10 companies of soldiers, sailors, airmen and medics, adding up to about 1,200 servicemen and women.
A member of the Signal Corps in the brigade march past.
A member of the Signal Corps in the brigade march past.
The SANDF put on an impressive display including a Salute Flight, flypasts by various aircraft and an aerobatics display put on by 85 Combat Flying School. Other impressive demonstrations were laid on by the Army Band, a navy precision drill team and a navy sword drill.
Flypast of Pilatus PC-7 trainers of 85 Combat Flying School
Flypast of Pilatus PC-7 trainers of 85 Combat Flying School
Pilatus PC-7 trainers show off their aerobatic skills.
Pilatus PC-7 trainers show off their aerobatic skills.
This tight formation flypast features two Hawk 120 advanced jet trainers and two Gripen fighters. Th...
This tight formation flypast features two Hawk 120 advanced jet trainers and two Gripen fighters. The first plane is "vlaggie", in the national colours.
The Mendi has also been remembered in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, as well as in Soweto, Johannesburg, where a civilian-only ceremony was held Saturday, under the auspices of the Johannesburg Metro Council and the hosts, the SA Legion.
Legionnairs Marrietta Venter and Pauline Mohale Buyeye at the Soweto Mendi commemoration.
Legionnairs Marrietta Venter and Pauline Mohale Buyeye at the Soweto Mendi commemoration.
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