Published: 17 December 2015
By:Hermanus leg of Exercise Trans Enduro 2015
On Friday, 4 December 2015, the Overstrand Municipality played host to the launch of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Military Academy’s energised teams of rubber ducks, cyclists and marathon runners during one of the legs of its epic annual 10-day Exercise Trans Enduro event.
The gruelling expedition - that kicks off at the Academy’s home base of Saldanha before touching the shores of a number of municipal towns across the Western Cape over the period - was established and is managed by MASIZA, its fundraising arm. Junior officers of the South African Defence Force receive their professional military education at the Academy and, once suitably trained and qualified, continue with their military careers.
A committed year-long fundraising campaign led by MASIZA’S Trans Enduro Committee, that subsequently culminates in the Exercise Trans Enduro, has contributed significantly through the years to the development, improvement and support of a number of less fortunate communities in the Western Cape.
This year’s occurrence started with one of the cadets reading out the moving “Code of Conduct” that uniformed members of the SANDF take to selflessly serve and defend our country, and in so doing ensure the general sense of wellbeing and security that ordinary South Africans enjoy.
The event proved nostalgic and evoked strong feelings for many who reflected on the occasion two years back when participants were still reeling from the recent passing of the iconic and much loved past-president, Nelson Mandela. At that point, organisers were concerned about the emotional well-being of the cadets and whether to continue with the tour. Brigadier General L.K. Mbatha on addressing this year’s instalment stated, “We were so worried that the sombre mood, yet understandable grief of the nation, would impact negatively on our young Academy members. However, I was hopeful that the military training that had been instilled in them to push through in even the direst of circumstances, would win through.”
This sentiment was echoed by Executive Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie who, in her keynote address, said “Trans Enduro 2013 will forever stand out as a highlight in my career. I remember clearly the way the young people and their seniors gathered themselves on the day.”
“What resonated most was the palpable spirit of pray, harmony and togetherness amongst us. We prayed as one for the safe deliverance of the soul of our dear Tata Madiba. We prayed for the family, friends and colleagues whose lives had been graced, and forever altered for the better, by this great man. We prayed for our Country, for justice, peace and a secure future for all our people. That day will forever be linked to the Military Academy and this wonderful effort.”
Against that backdrop, it was only fitting that the Exercise Trans Enduro 2015 concluded on a high note with CO B.B. Senomadi handing over of a “Letter of Goodwill” to Botha-Guthrie which emanated from the Mayor of Cape Agulhas Municipality. This gesture formed part of a number of “Letters of Goodwill” that would pass from Mayor-to-Mayor in the series of municipal towns along the race’s journey. The Overstrand’s “Letter of Goodwill”, signed off by our very own Mayor, was soon winging its way to the City of Cape Town, where it would be received by Alderman Patricia de Lille in her capacity as that municipality’s top official.