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21 Gun Salute : A differed freedom practice

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21 Gun Salute : A differed freedom practice


What is 21 Gun Salute?

South Africa has ushered in democracy in 1994 and saw the change of government, policies , legislation’s and political climate towards the majority of people of this country as opposed to the prioritisation of the minority interests as it was previously the case.

One of many of these regressive draconian laws that still needs to change is the 21 Gun Salute, which is practiced or carried out as a sign of an official or recognition of historic activities or in honour of important personalities in our country.

What is the conceptualisation of 21 Gun Salute?

The 21-gun salute, commonly recognized by many nations, is the highest honor rendered.

The custom stems from naval tradition, when a warship would signify its lack of hostile intent by firing its cannons out to sea until all ammunition was spend

In former times, however, firing all guns could leave a ship, fort or battery virtually defenseless, for the re-loading took a great deal of time. For this reason, gun salutes were seen as a great honor.

Is this still relevant?

South Africa’s transition was filled with hope and fear. What entrenched fear was also the ‘swaart Gevaar’ propaganda by white racist organisations inspired by AWB. The uncertainty about the future was glaring in the face of minority organisations, whilst the hope and confidence of the majority of of South African’s was overwhelming. The projected prosperity and successful future was inspired by the solid policy direction of the ANC that sort to transform state institutions and many of oppressive practices against the majority.

This kind of practices takes us backward to the doom days of South Africa although we have adopted them in some of our funerals including at the funeral of our late liberation icon, Cde Chris Hani.

There is no relevance of this practice to our hard won democracy. It is a constant reminder of the colonial suppression of our sovereignty as a country and an insult to us as a nation.

The 21 Gun Salute practice was adopted by many of the Commonwealth Nations whose member state are former territories of British Empire in their majority.There is no denying that the British Empire played a critical role in the adoption of this practice which is now an established military protocol as an international standard of recognition and honour.The British as the then Sea Superpower used to use this practice to force weak nations to first salute it when it approached ports.

There is no relevance in the culture and make up of our envisaged national democratic society as outlined in the strategy and tactics document of the ANC.The practice seem to romanticise violence and it’s symbols.

This practice does not even enhance our cultural nature of respecting historic day’s and important personalities. It remains abstract to the entire nation of South Africa. It perpetuates colonial superiority over our beloved nation.

What is our cultural way of honouring important personalities?

Depending on the occasion, we have always practiced Ubuntu/Botho principles. Love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Slaughtering has been an interesting feature of showing respect to important people in our lives. This practice cut across all groups in South Africa. Of course,culture is not static but any development does not necessarily depart far away from the gradual improvement of culture.

What needs to be done?

Cancel and discontinue 21 Gun Salute practice in South Africa.

It is also a waste of resources and unavailable money that we need most for programs of job creation and fighting poverty. I can only imagine the artillery expenses and the preparation before this practice is carried out. The budget can be directed to educate children’s of our veterans and or address one of the challenges confronting us as a people.

Thembeni Skully Nxangisa
ANC member in ward 24 ( Thabo Khuselo Branch ) Bloemfontein, Free State

DEVELOPING| ANC Free State Fires Thembeni Nxangisa as Legislature Chief Whip

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