There will be road closures in Hill Street (between Beaufort and High), Cawood Street and High Street (from Hill Street to Cawood Street) from 6am tomorrow, Thursday 24 May, as infantry, marching bands and military vehicles form up for the Army’s Freedom of the City parade.
According to a media release from 6SAI Battalion they, along with the First City Regiment, will exercise the right to the Freedom of the City by presenting a parade in front of the City Hall in High Street and a march-past through the streets of Grahamstown.
“This action by the civic authorities is greatly appreciated by 6SAI and First City and this privilege will always be exercised in the spirit of the tradition,” the statement said.
First City Regiment were granted Freedom of the city on 4 September 1962 and 6SAI on the occasion of their fifth anniversary, 31 March 1967, from the Mayor at the time, GJ Krige. On this occasion, the event is expected to be hosted by Makana Executive Mayor, Nomhle Gaga.
“After a regiment or a unit has been granted the freedom of entry to the city, it should be exercised at least once in two years,” the statement said.
The custom of granting the privilege of the city to a unit, by which its troops may march through the city with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed, has a long history.
“Today it symbolises the the confidence of the civilian population in the unit and confers on it the right and privilege of bearing arms while marching through the city or town.”
The ceremony is set to start at 9.15am, with a band trooping in front of the City Hall, followed by the parade at 9.30am.
Units will form up at Fiddlers Green (vehicles), the Drill Hall (bands) and the bottom end of High Street (infantry) from early. Makana Traffic Head Coenraad Hanekom confirmed that road closures in those areas would begin at 6am.