Cannon firing pays homage to Afrikaner history

Three cannons could be heard going off in Bellville over the weekend, as members of Die Voortrekkers got to experience this age old tradition which dates back to the 1800s.

Frikkie Conradie, from Brackenfell, visited Die Voortrekkers Bellville Oom Vossie on Saturday May 6, where three members got to fire the cannons.

Mr Conradie, a member of the Cannon Association of South Africa (CAOSA), has been involved in the restoration and firing of cannons for the past five years. He believes it is an important part of South Africa’s history and something which should be cherished.

“When we fire the cannon, it’s like putting life into history,” he said.

He was invited to fire the cannons as part of Die Voortrekkers’ Die Groot Trek weekend for Grade 4 pupils. Mr Conradie spoke to Die Voortrekkers about the importance of the cannon, its history and explained the various tools that accompany the cannons.

Zander Binedell and Tobie Louw fired the quarter pounder cannon and Jacqui Geldenhuys fired the half pounder cannon, which was cast in 1770 in England.

Mr Conradie’s son, Riaan, has also been involved in the restoration and firing of cannons for the past five years. He said being able to fire them after restoring and locating them, was the “cherry on top”.

Die Voortrekkers commander Johan Nel described the movement as a Afrikaner cultural organisation.

They have pupils from Grade R to matric and have various movements across the northern suburbs. Members are taught life skills and take part in adventure activities.

CAOSA is dedicated to the preservation and utilisation of the historic muzzle loading ordnance in South Africa. They locate, record and identify guns.