| RHODESIAN- ZIMABAWEAN WORLD WIDE REUNION - AN OUTSTANDING EVENT
RHODESIAN-ZIMBABWEAN WORLD WIDE REUNION
WEEKS EVENTS – 6 th to 13 November 2005
The Shamwari Club – Westville, Durban.
On a wet and overcast Sunday on the 6th November a crowd of Rhodesian and Zimbabweans met at the Shamwari Club to a flag raising of the World Wide Reunion. It started with the airy sound of the bag pipes drawing the crowd towards the flag posts. At attention at the flag posts were three distinguished military members of those forgotten forces of 40 years ago, to raise the flags of this memorable reunion. When the bag pipes ceased, the Southern Rhodesian, Rhodesian and Zimbabwean Flag flew in the overcast sky. The bugler sounded the reveille for the opening of this momentous week. Was it tears in the crowds eyes or the drips of rain drops fall down their faces…….. Lunch was the order of the day and people met some for the first time in many years.
The Monday Video was not very well attended and the usual crowd at the bar was becoming evident.
On Tuesday 8th the "English Pub Evening" was well attended and we were entertained in true English style by Tony Darrell and his band.
On a beautiful early clear Wednesday morning on the 9th a few successful staunch fishermen rallied at the Inanda Dam for the bass fishing completion held by Johnny Green. At 08h30 a breakfast call was held with bacon, wors, eggs and rolls being the order of the day. At that point not many fish had taken to the rubbery worm. On the second session of fishing, these well seasoned fishermen began to catch the large mouth bass but only managed to land one slightly less than a kilogram. Although many large ones got away (same old fishing story) it was an enjoyable day. With a couple of chibulies at cut off time it was a perfect way to finish a memorable fishing day.
Meanwhile at the Shamwari Club the usual gang had met at the SAS corner getting ready for the evening activities. The evening entertainment was a John Edmond Concert, with John Edmond live on stage complimented by a beautiful blonde, which we believe is his wife Teresa. They sang songs of old and songs of new, songs to make you blue and songs to make you clap. It was a nostalgic evening with tears and great joy - an evening only John knows how to make, with over 400 people present.
On Thursday morning the Reunion Golf day was held which was a great success and with entertaining prize giving honoured by the great entertainer Johnny Haswell. In the afternoon John Edmond entertained the pensioners, who came from afar, bussed in so that they could take part in this wonderful reunion. The BSAP Association had a successful gathering at the Tudor Rose Pub in Hillcrest. The usual crowd kept the pub open till the late evening, in their good spirits by drinking them.
Friday the 11th was quite a day. UDI was commemorated both at 1.15pm with John Redfern giving the address after Ian Smith had spoken 40 years ago. In the evening the "Come as You Were" Party was held with a couple of the young ladies dressed in the uniforms from yesteryear – with pig tales and all, there was even an engineer in his camo with stable belt and beret. The evening was a great success with over 600 people being present. The beer flowed and nearly ran out and the helpers had to move that beer from the cold rooms to the bar all night long. Friendships were renewed and the people partied until 3am the next day. Erica and Roy kept the food warm and plenty was served to the troops all night.
Saturday 12th started with a highly emotional "Remembrance Parade" which was well attended by approximately 400 people from all the forces. It was probably the biggest gathering for a memorial service at this plinth, all sides of the forces where represented. With the SAS showing a well drilled, precise and organised service as one would expect.
The lunchtime gathering at the Club was well attended, whilst the Reunion Committee did their thing at the ICC, to ensure that the venue was well decorated, menus, candles, table names etc, were laid out and the final preparation of the big screen was finely tuned. John Edmond setting up his sound system, tuning his guitar, testing the distance of the mike to ensure that he could capture the audience.
"Gala Dinner" in evening saw over 800 people sitting down to an excellent meal, with a starter of line fish, shank of lamb and mango cheesecake. The speeches were exceptional, with Peter Rawson acting as MC and the speakers, Richard Wood who in his exceptionally clever and dry sense of humour spoke on the military; Ann Grant the Captain of the Gold Medal Hockey side spoke on our women and caused a tear or two; Doug Watson on the sports people and finally John Haswell summing it all up.
During the in between of the speeches we saw on the big screen the building of Kariba and scenes from Rhodesia .
John and Mary Redfern were presented an award for their hard work and contributions to the fund raising event to help our elderly; they have been a driving force for many years.
John Edmond was also handed an award for his dedication for bringing Rhodesians together from all over the world and for his fund raising efforts. John Edmond entertained the audience after the speeches with everyone enjoying and jiving the night away.
Team photographs were taken and the RLI tried their best to entertain the crowd with The Saints Go Marching In.
T he Closing ceremony on Sunday 13th was well attended. It was a bit delayed with the flags been lowered to the last post, the bag pipes played the Rhodesian National Anthem. With thanks made and everyone agreed that it had been a great week. The raffle was held for the beautiful map of Rhodesia cake donated by Pet Bester and other wonderful prizes.
Thanks to the hard work of the Reunion committee, the RASA Team and helpers for making this a success momentous week in Durban .