Cadets have a blast at Youth Day cannon firing

Retired South African Navy warrant officers Harry Croome and Martin Venter, helped by one of the Vigis Home of Hope Ocean View cadets, fire one of the South African Naval Museum’s historic rifled, muzzle-loading cannons at Middle North battery, for Youth Day.

In a display of precision and discipline, a group of cadets from Ocean View took centre stage at a cannon firing in Simon’s Town on Youth Day.

The South African Naval Museum and the Cannon Association of South Africa conducted the firing of one of the museum’s historic rifled, muzzle-loading cannons at the Middle North Battery.

The battery, which is home to the nine-inch cannon, falls under the care of the museum.

The cannon that was fired was originally positioned by the British in 1896.

Following the firing ceremony, the cadets, dressed in their uniforms, showed off their drilling.

Vigis Home of Hope Ocean View Cadets founder Dimitri Vigis said the programme had 85 to 90 cadets.

“With the help of 20 dedicated volunteers, including a retired navy officer and a retired police officer, the programme has really flourished,” he said.

Every Saturday, practice sessions take place at Ocean View High School, and the non-profit organisation, Support Orphans in Southern Africa, and its ambassador, Rene Kairuz, provide the cadets with meals.

Ms Kairuz approached Martin Venter, chairman of The Cannon Association of South Africa, who is a retired SA Navy warrant officer in charge of cannon firings. She proposed the idea of involving the cadets in a marching drill on the day.

Mr Venter said the collaboration added an extra layer of significance to the occasion.

“We wanted to make it a memorable experience. Involving the cadets, who represent the youth, was a natural choice,” he said.

Stephanie Blignaut, 9, one of the cadets, helped with the cannon firing.

“I was a little nervous, but I enjoyed it,” she said.

Mikayla Williams, 10, said she had had an awesome day, and Joshua Savage, 14, said, “It was a super fun day, and watching the cannon firing was really awesome.”

Vigis Home of Hope cadets from Ocean View perform marching drills.