2018 Battle of Blaauwberg Commemoration

To open the event, courtesy of Jurg Zimmerman from the Cannon Society of South Africa (CAOSA), cannon fire signalled the start of a 10km trail run.  The runners set off in ideal weather to complete a loop taking them up to the top of Blaauwberg Hill with its magnificent views, past refreshment stations manned by volunteers. Gary Britz and his helpers from West Coast Athletics Club were on hand to record runners’ times. Winners were awarded two nights at the “Montispectus” accommodation atop of the Hill in the BBNR.

Soon after the runners got under way, those opting to take the Battlefield Guided Walk were seen off by another firing of the cannon and lead by Quintin Julie, Cape Town Rifles “The Dukes” drummer.  Walk leader Dave Honour, our Battlefield registered field guide, retraced the footsteps of the soldiers giving attendees insight into the course of events that in those few bloody hours would determine the future of South Africa. At the end of the walk the farm’s tractor transported the walkers back to where they could enjoy burgers and coffee provided by vendors present.

Another activity that could be enjoyed was the fun walk of 5 or 10 km.  As the BBNR is not open to the public, this was an excellent opportunity for people to take in the beautiful fynbos with the chance of seeing some of the animals residing in the Reserve.  All walkers (and the runners) were rewarded with a souvenir Battle of Blaauwberg Anniversary coaster to take home with them.

Meanwhile those not on the walks were able to wander through some exhibits in the hall:  interesting displays laid out by representatives from BBNR and Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW); a collection of artefacts retrieved by archaeologists from the battlefield with Willem Steenkamp author of Assegais, Drums & Dragoons, archive researcher Ian van Oordt and Garry Thomson, casually imparting their knowledge.  Later in the morning, archaeologist and Pastor Marius Breytenbach gave a presentation relating to the Blaauwberg Valley and its historical importance. 

At intervals during the morning visitors were entertained by the 4-man brass band, joined later by the Cape Town Highlander Pipers. The Pipers and drummer played familiar tunes producing tears in the eyes of many spectators.

To end the morning’s agenda, at 12 midday, a cannon salute was fired in remembrance of all those who fell in the Battle of Blaauwberg 1806.  As a eulogy, Marius Breytenbach read the piece “The Monument” by Sgt George Hahn L.A.P.D. and led everyone in prayer, whereafter the band gave a moving rendition of our National Anthem.

Scenes from the Jan 2018 event...


The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve staff at their stall.


The CREW team exhibiting some of the wonderful plants found in the Reserve – these were specimens from Blaauwberg hill.


Marius Breytenbach, pastor and archeologist, doing the eulogy in memory of the 6000 soldiers who took part in the Battle of Blaauwberg.


Lighting the canon - Ready Steady Bang (with much shocked laughter afterwards!)


Audience awaiting the canon firing at 12h00 with the venue in the background.


In the front - Roy Fuller-Gee, chairman of the Friends of BCA and one of the driving forces behind the Battle commemoration, in conversation with Marius Breytenbach, archeologist and pastor (on the right).


Cape Town Highlander Pipers in front of some of the Battle displays.


Participants on their way to the guided Battle Walk.


This 4-man brass band provided beautiful background music throughout the day.


Winners of the 10 km Trail Run - Male & Female top 3.


Cape Town Rifles 'The Dukes' drummer and his son played a key role in the start of many events.