Cannon Firings at the Taalmonument in Paarl
A cannon firing will take place at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl on Saturday 31 May 2014. This will be the first of a series of firings to be held at the monument on the last Saturday of the month in partnership with the Cannon Association of South Africa (CAOSA).
The event includes a short talk on the history of South Africa’s cannons and the Dutch East India Company (VOC) cannon signal system, as well as a demonstration of the loading gear. The cannon will be loaded with gunpowder but without a projectile. The cannoneer will ask a question about the cannon’s history and the first member of the public who answers correctly will pull the trigger. CAOSA will give the person a certificate to say he or she fired the cannon at the Taalmonument. The talk will be offered in English at 11:30 and in Afrikaans at 11:45. The cannon, a half-pound 1770 Armstrong, will be fired at 12:00 from the Garden Theatre stage.
According to cannoneer Riaan Conradie, South Africa has one of the biggest varieties of muzzle loading cannons in the world. “Unfortunately many of these cannons have been grossly neglected and some even destroyed. It is CAOSA’s mission to research these cannons and the VOC cannon signal system, as well as to track, restore and display the cannons to preserve their heritage for future generations. The association has already found, measured and registered more than 1 000 of them in the Durr Record of South African Muzzle Loading Cannons.
“We are excited about extending our public firings to the Taalmonument as it is an important destination for South Africans who have a passion for our country’s history. In our talk we also refer to the six-pounder on Paarl Mountain and other cannons in Drakenstein,” added Conradie.
Cannon firings are scheduled for 31 May, 28 June, 26 July, 30 August, 27 September, 25 October, 29 November and 27 December, as well as 24 September (Heritage Day). Events will be cancelled when there is heavy rain. The entrance fee to the Taalmonument is R20 for adults, R10 for South African students and R5 for children (free under six years).