We like to help out our local readers here in Cape Town, much as we like to help out our readers all over the world. But especially in Cape Town because Cape Town is home and Capetonians need more help than a lot of people.
Take the annual road closures for the State Opening of Parliament. First off, this is an annual event and it also happens every year. We’re warned about it in the newspapers, on Facebook, twitter, radio and TV. And then on blogs too.
It never does any good. The flood of warnings, I mean, not Parliament.
(Let’s save that discussion for another day, shall we?)
Somehow, the message doesn’t get through and then there’s panic on the streets of Cape Town; Gardens, Green Point, Waterkant. I wonder to myself.
Anyway, I’m going to try again. No road closures this time, just some big bangs early in the morning, as Cape Town welcomes the British frigate HMS Iron Duke into the harbour:
The South African Navy will welcome a British Royal Navy ship to Cape Town in grand style.
The HMS Iron Duke will receive a 21 gun salute when it nears Robben Island around 7:30 tomorrow morning.
21 guns is some welcome. The Iron Duke only gave the Lt Governor of Jersey a 15 gun salute as she passed by the Channel Islands in June. The SA Navy is going all out with a mighty 40% increase on gun salutage – and HMS Iron Duke will respond in kind:
The Navy’s Chief Petty Officer, Dudley Malgas says the Signal Hill Noon Gun will be used in a 21 gun salute to welcome the HMS Iron Duke.
“They will follow with their 21 gun salute, and we will then respond with our 21 gun salute.”
I’m already a bit lost. Does this mean 42 bangs or 63? Never has my 21 times table been so widely used.
Either way, it’s going to be very noisy and very early and people in Cape Town are going to get very panicky. No amount of forewarning will have any effect and everyone in the CBD will think that Burundi is invading. Again.
But spread the word anyway. Be that one that can say: “Er… yeah. Didn’t you read that blog post I shared? Damn, you’re just so underinformed sometimes.” or whatever. And ask them if they are know about the road closures for the State Opening of Parliament in February. They won’t.
In case you were wondering, here’s why we have 21 gun salutes:
The custom stems from naval tradition, where a warship would fire its cannons harmlessly out to sea, until all ammunition was spent, to show that it was disarmed, signifying the lack of hostile intent. As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for heads of state, with the number decreasing with the rank of the recipient of the honour.
Sound of Guns. Geddit?