SA National Defence Force commemorates its fallen heroines

Article and photos by S Sgt Lebogang Tlhaole, SA Soldier

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) held a Women’s Commemoration Parade recently at Tempe Military Base in Bloemfontein in honour of their fallen heroines who paid the ultimate sacrifice while on duty. It was a day to remember, reflect and paid tribute to those women who died while safeguarding our nation, defending our freedom and preserving our liberty.

Among those to be specially remembered were eleven female members of the Department of Defence (DOD)/SANDF who lost their lives following a tragic bus accident near Clarens in the Free State in August 2016. These women were true professionals bound by a common vocation, which was more than a job, or a career, or a profession. They chose to serve as agents of peace and guardians of freedom. They came from different backgrounds, but were bound by common values, COURAGE, SACRIFICE and SERVICE.

In paying tribute to those women, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said that families, friends and colleagues have gathered to commemorate those fallen heroines’ commitment, devotion to duty, selfless loyalty and the ultimate sacrifice that they each made in serving our communities.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said: “Therefore today gives us an opportunity to publicly acknowledge all our women in the DOD/SANDF, both serving and none serving who have passed on. It is important that we honour these fallen heroines and remind ourselves for the sacrifices they have made by laying down their lives for the betterment of our country and contribution to a better Africa and a better world. For many of us the security challenges of today further underscore the importance of the SANDF and their ongoing commitment to protecting us all, despite the inevitable risks that they face on a daily basis.”

The Minister said that these women will never be forgotten; through us their exceptional legacy will always be remembered. Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said: “Today we are indeed honouring all women that died while in service. They were daughters, mothers, wives, lovers, friends, colleagues, providers and care takers. These heroines chose to stand beside us, we will always remember and be inspired by the example they have given us. Their spirit remains, like a handprint on our hearts.”