South Africa: The Rand Show 2023 concluded with resounding success on Monday, 10 April 2023, after unleashing didactic and action-packed activities to public members over the period 06 April to 10 April 2023.
The event, which was previously hampered and halted by the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 until 2022, bounced back immensely by attracting tens of thousands of visitors on a daily basis. According to the Rand Show organizers, “this high figure is equal to the years 2016 and 2017.”
The South African National Defence Force once again formed part of this great spectacle and continued where it left off as an ever-dependable crowd-puller. The SA National Defence Force, under the command of the Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Rudzani Maphwanya, continued to effectively communicate its overarching message that it is indeed the ‘Defence Force for the People’. The SA National Defence Force was well represented by its four Arms of Service and respective Divisions.
These vital organs all came under the Rand Show’s roof, where men and women in uniform introduced members of the public to the military environment by displaying their vehicles and equipment and showcasing their capabilities in various strategically placed exhibition stalls and the arena.
The SA National Defence Force exhibition stalls not only provided a visual appeal to the public but also served to further the organization’s aim to establish good working relations with the public it serves in an omnipresent fashion. This unity of civil and military was most evident, judging from the thunderous applause and positive feedback the SA National Defence Force received from the public that witnessed the capabilities and engaged with the military experts and communicators.
The SA National Defence Force’s exhibition stalls also served as platforms for career recruitment drives to the scholars who had the opportunity to learn about boundless careers with the Armed Forces, including the crucial behind-the-scenes careers in the fields of Dietetics, Dentistry, Legal Services, Firefighting and other professions.
On the evening of the final day, the Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Maphwanya, concluded the event and addressed more than a thousand soldiers deployed at the Rand Show. The Chief was flanked by the Chief of Corporate Staff, Lieutenant General Michael Ramantswana, Chief Director of Military Strategy and Plan, and Major General Tembelani Xundu. And Chaplain General of the SA National Defence Force, Brigadier General Thabo Masweu.
General Maphwanya thanked the planners, exhibitors, communicators, bands from all Arms of Service and the support staff for performing to the best of their ability to ensure that the Show was a success. He also confirmed that 80 000 people visited the exhibition stalls.
The General remarked that the Rand Show is becoming one of the most important communication forums for the SA National Defence Force. “We are the hope when our people have lost hope,” he said.
The Head of Communication for the Department of Defence, Mr Siphiwe Dlamini, conveyed messages of appreciation to all members who participated in the Rand Show. “We will deliver a more spectacular event next year”, he promised.
On a more sombre note, a moment of silence was also held earlier on the passing of Major Ntokozo Ntshangase from the South African Air Force, who sadly passed away after a short illness. At the time of his death Major Ntshangase, hailing from the South African Air Force Museum based at Air Force Base Swartkop in Pretoria, was still part of the Rand Show as a communicator.
The Chief SA National Defence Force paid his respect to the fallen hero whom he fondly remembers as someone who was dedicated to his work. The Chief of the SA National Defence Force sends condolences to the family and friends of Major Ntshangase.