BIG BANG START FOR 2012 RAND SHOW
The Rand Show, the largest consumer show in South Africa, started with a bang at Johannesburg Expo Centre on Friday, April 6. The big bangs came from a most impressive display by the SA National Defence Force, who returned to this historic event for the second year, after a seven year absence.
Not only does the SANDF have a most impressive and very comprehensive static display where all four arms – Army, Air Force, Navy and Health Services – are represented, but it also put on a very noisy and high impact display of various aspects of the SANDF’s preparedness. It not only involved paratroopers and ground forces but also the Air Force in the form of the Rooivalk and Oryx helicopters and the screaming Hawk fighter trainer.
This show will be repeated as part of the closing ceremony for the 2012 Rand Show on the afternoon of Sunday, April 15.
The display attracted a large crowd to the main arena at the Expo Centre and proved a highlight for the many thousands of visitors on the first day of this 11-day show that dates back 117 years when it was centred on agriculture.
The opening ceremony was performed by the Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, on behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu who arrived later in the day after attending a function in Cape Town.
Dr. Gulube said that the SANDF had dedicated April 2012 to honour former President Nelson Mandela and many war veterans who sacrificed their lives for freedom.
“The involvement of the SANDF in the 2012 Rand Show is the collimation of our celebration in honour of the first Commander-in-Chief of the combined military forces of democratic South Africa in 1994,” explained Dr Gulube. “We see this as a precursor for the SANDF for the celebration of Freedom Day on April 27, where both Mr Mandela and our military veterans will be acknowledged for the roles they played in bringing democracy to our country.”
Dr Gulube went on to say that the SANDF saw the Rand Show as the ideal opportunity for it to interact and communicate with members of the public and to show its preparedness in all aspects of its operations and capabilities.
The military display was the undoubted highpoint of the opening day, but there were many other attractions for the large number of visitors, with the focus on entertainment for all members of the family.
Ultra-high divers from Canada, an extensive motoring exhibit and a wide variety of entertainment opportunities for children were major drawcards. The latter are very well catered for with a circus, children’s’ theatre, Animal Kingdom and the KwaZulu-Natal province bringing the beach to Johannesburg. All these attractions are included in the admission price.
There was also a great deal of interest in the hall where government, parastatal and regional organisations displayed their particular areas of involvement in public life and proved an excellent source of information for the visitors.
The gates to the show open at 09:00 and close at 20:00. Tickets cost R80 for adults, R40 for children from 12-16, R20 for children from 6-12 and children under six come in for free.