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Further to my interests in the 'Cantonments of the Imperial Garrison in South Africa'  - my grandfather came to South Africa as a Royal Engineer and married my Afrikaans grandmother in 1916 - I was encouraged to write this by seeing a cover from the KLIP RIVER CAMP of 1903 on Bid or Buy. While I have included a page in my display on the Transvaal Volunteers, I declined to buy the cover for a variety of reasons, mostly because it did not really meet my criteria for 'Cantonment' material. Nevertheless, it is an outstanding and very rare item of South African Military Postal History. I thank Russell Inggs for bringing it to my attention and Jim Findlay, the doyen of SA Miliitary Postal History, for writing his hugely informative article from which I have learned all I know about the Transvaal Volunteers.

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Steve, Isn't that the Drill Hall opposite Rissik Park?  I have just checked and I am sure it was.  You don't want to see it now!




I am a Capie. The only Drill Hall I know is / was the colonial era, low white-washed (?) building next to the City Hall opposite the parade on the Castle / Woodstock side. I never went there to drill but I did go as a joller raving on Black Bombs. I had recently klaared-out of the Army. The occassion was an Ars Nova (New Arts) arranged by the legendary Alan Flack. ("Slither hither, smother Mother!") The light show provided my first psychedlic experience. The necesseary mind-altering substances would come later. Some might say that this was the start of SA's anti-military long-haired rot - although I do not see it like that. I was amazed how big Cape Town's Drill Hall was inside - big enough to drill a company of men ie. fit for purpose. It was where the "Dukes" mustered before going of to GSWA. If you say, the building in the postcard above is the Drill Hall opposite Rissik Park, I believe you. I wanted to say something about how large it was as an HQ for the relatively small and obscure Transvaal Volunteers but if, as you say, this was a Drill Hall, then that makes perfect sense. It was probably also used by other Transvaal UDF regiments as their HQ as well.

It was still operational in 1967 I employed a sergeant from there as a waiter when I ran the roadhouse in Bedfordview.  If you put drill hall into google add images and you will see what it looked like then and I am sad to say now!  It says over the top of what's left 'We stand by our leaders'.  that is about the only thing that is standing.  And to think that is what I voted for when we had the opertunity all those long years ago!


I have just looked at an article on-line from 'The Star' 2012. It refers "Joburg becoming city of ruins as historic properties fall into disrepair". It also includes a reference to the Rissik Street Post Office which was the subject of a question included in Rob and Lyn Lester's "South African Post Offices on Postcard" Display at the May SACS meeting in Letchworth. Rob asked if anyone knew what had happened to Rissik Street Post Office? Much could have changed since the attached article was written in 2012 but the broader answer is "you don't want to know!" I have learned from revisiting South Africa that it is heart-breaking to return to places one has fond memories of. But that's progress!

It is understandable that many Whites voted for Mandela. He was an idealistic  messianic figure who promised to free all South Africans from the shackles of the past and to let them share in its bright sunlit uplands. The well-documented problems came with the shit bag politicians who rode on his coat tails and lapped up the gravy train. I had seen enough of the ANC in exile to know that it was going to be a thorny walk in a red rose garden. In my experience, the ANC in exile had great difficulty accepting anyone who was not a socialist. I had always been self-motivated and could not make that committment. I thought the key to unlocking the future and South Africa's potential was the creation of wealth through job creation. That was never an ANC priority. I did not vote for them but stuck to my liberal White roots. And still do! The problem South Africa had then, less so today, was legacy Apartheid, the unpicking of which removed many of the benefits Whites had become accustomed to, like having status and job security and an identity through owning our history.