President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS

Cape Town - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) are hosting Armed Forces Day (AFD) 2019 in Cape Town with activities that started on 16 February and culminates on 21 February 2019, with the commemoration of the SS Mendi and a parade. 

President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial.

The commemoration of the fateful sinking of the SS MENDI on 21 February 1917 looks back at when over 600 South African men perished in the icy waters of the English Channel, of which 607 were from the South African Native Labour Corps and 33 crew members.

President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS
President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS
President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS

The day's events will include a military parade and capability demonstration. The parade will include marching and mechanised columns from 10:30 -13:00 and will be followed by military capability demonstration from 13:00 onwards at Table View Beach.

Entry is free and members of the public are invited to attend. In anticipation of large numbers expected to attend these activities, there will be viewing areas with big screens at the Grand Parade, Mandela Park Sports Stadium (Khayelitsha) and Table View Beach.

Armed Forces Day is aimed at honouring the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives on the line of duty and those who continue selflessly serving our country. The AFD 19 is the highlight on the SANDF event calendar.

President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS
President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS
President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS
President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town by the SS Mendi Memorial. Picture: GCIS

This annual celebration by the country’s armed forces is hosted on a rotational basis by each of South Africa’s nine provinces.

Armed Forces Day also serves to create consensus on defence by taking the SANDF to the people. During AFD, the public is afforded an opportunity to interact with the men and women in uniform and is exposed to the capabilities of our country’s state-of-the-art military equipment. AFD is also a platform to test the SANDF’s logistical capabilities and state of readiness.

AFD is a joint presentation by all arms of service and divisions of the SANDF and demonstrates unity of effort from our military. 

President Ramaphosa commenced Armed Forces Day with a wreath laying at the SS Mendi Memorial on the Lower Campus of the University of Cape Town. The commemoration 21 February 1917 looks back at when over 600 South African men perished in the icy waters of the English Channel on 21 February 1917. Video: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)
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