Cape Town – On Monday, Minister Anroux Marais of Cultural Affairs and Sport presided over the centenary of the introduction of the first two-minute silence in Cape Town.
“Today, we are gathered to remember the significance of the Noon Day Gun as we commemorate the centenary of the introduction of the two minutes of silence, which originally was 3 minutes, in memory of the Cape Town Mayor of the time, Mr Harry Hands’ late son,” Marais said.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), the City of Cape Town and the South African Navy partnered with key stakeholders to observe a special firing ceremony for this commemoration at the Noon Day Gun, Lion Battery on the slopes of Signal Hill.
“For 100 years, the Noon Day Gun has become a part of Capetonian’s daily lives but how many are actually aware of the significance underlying its occurrence?” Marais said.
“Today, as we commemorate the centenary of the first occasion the Noon Day Gun was fired, we raise awareness on our historical heritage and honour and remember those who have gone before us while shaping the world we live in today.”
On 14 May 1918, Cape Town Mayor Harry Hands hosted a ceremony in Adderley Street, signalled by the Noon Gun, in remembrance of his son who died in World War 1. The annual commemoration of the 2-minute silence is known internationally as Armistice Day and is observed on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:00.
Marais encouraged people to be mindful of those who died in the many conflicts and wars that have claimed a number of South African lives.
“Let us reflect on their causes and legacies and how each one of us have and will continue to play an active role in the progress of Cape Town and its people,” she said after having unveiled a plaque next to the cannons.
Among the guests was Commander Leon Steyn of the SA Navy and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Malgas of the SA Navy, who has been firing the Noon Gun for many years, except on Sundays and public holidays.
The commemoration proceeded with a moving performance of the Last Post before the Noon Gun was fired by CPO Malgas. The Cannon Association of South Africa then continued with a volley of 10 shots, one for each decade.