Would you like to fire a cannon? If you are clever enough, you might be able to – at the cannon firing at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl on the last Saturday of every month.
The firing is part of a series held in collaboration with CAOSA (Cannon Association of South Africa). The cannon, a Half Pounder (1770 Armstrong), is fired at 12:00 from the Garden Theatre stage. The cannoneer will ask a question about the cannon or cannon history and a member of the public who answers correctly, will get the opportunity to fire the cannon. CAOSA issues a certificate as proof that this person has fired the cannon at the Taalmonument.
The firing is preceded by a short talk on the history of South Africa’s cannons as a form of communication, including the VOC cannon signal system, as well as a demonstration of the use of all the loading gear. The cannon is loaded with gunpowder (no projectile). The talk is offered at 11:30 (in English) and at 11:45 (in Afrikaans).
According to cannoneer Riaan Conradie, who is in charge of the demonstrations at the Taalmonument, 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. In our talk we also refer to the Six pounder cannon on Paarl Mountain, and other cannons in Drakenstein.”
For the year 2017 cannon firings are scheduled for 28 Januarie, 25 Februarie, 25 Maart, 29 April, 27 Mei, 24 Junie, 29 Julie, 26 Augustus, Sunday 24 September (Heritage Day), 30 September, 28 Oktober, 25 November en 30 Desember. In case of heavy rain, the cannon firing will be cancelled.
The entrance fee at the Taalmonument is R25 for adults (R30 from April 2017), R10 for South African students and R5 for children (free under six years). There is no extra fee for attending the cannon firing, but visitors are welcome to give a donation to CAOSA. For enquiries, contact Amira Clayton at tel. 021 863 4809/0543 of firstname.lastname@example.org.