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WAR CENTENARY (article first published : 1999-09-23)

This month, the commemoration of the centenary of The Anglo-Boer War focuses on events in the Durban Metro area. These include a A Time to Die, a play focusing on Australian-based British soldier, Breaker Morant written by Brian O'Shaunessy and directed by Jackie Vermaas (see Drama section)

On October 16 at 13h00, there will be a symbolic welcome of British forces and auxiliaries at N Shed where British naval and military units, Indian stretcher-bearers and farriers in uniform will be welcomed by the Mayor. Pipe bands will perform, there will be naval vessels and strike craft in attendance and a steam train will take visitors to the formal opening of the various exhibitions at 15h00. These photographic, numismatic, philatelic and militaria exhibitions will remain open for four days at 74 Brigade, Lord's Grounds, Old Fort Rd, (opposite St John's). At 20h00 there will be a Military Ball in the Durban Light Infantry Hall accompanied by a live band.

October 17 is set aside for various religious prayers and services. These include in Farewell Square (10h00), D'Urban military cemetery in Wyatt Road (11h30) and Concentration Camp Sites and Cemeteries (15h30).

On October 18 at 13h00, there will be the unveiling of a replica 4,7 inch Naval gun on a carriage as designed by Captain Percy Scott and constructed in the Natal Government Railways Workshop. The replica is the only one in the world and has been donated by HMS Excellent, Whale Island Museum Portsmouth. It will be unveiled at Locomotive Plaza adjacent to the Workshop Shopping Centre.

October 19 at 13h00 sees a costume parade through town ending on the City Hall Steps to be greeted by the Mayor. This will be followed by the re-enactment of Winston Churchill's speech from the City Hall with the participation of his grand-daughter, the Hon Celia Sandys. Choirs and bands will perform. At 19h00, there will be a multicultural event in the City Hall featuring traditional music and songs, civilian and military from all those involved: Zulu, Afrikaans, Indian and English.

A selection of Anglo Boer War Centenary Tours is on offer which include Central Durban or the Battlefields. For details or to book phone (031) 202-6174. Visit the website: wwwbattlefields.co.za or rapid.com


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