12th February 1979, flight RH 827, a remembrance day for those that lost their lives.
A monument nestled among the acacia, remembering those that lost their lives in two ungodly like acts of terrorism, committed against innocent civilians in the then Rhodesia. Two civilian Viscounts, manned by highly trained people, transporting those that felt at ease, home to loved ones.
A few survived the first atrocity, did they expect to hear a condemnation from the rest of the world? Of this I’m sure I’m right, they did. Did they hear the slightest word? No, they had to sit and witness the leader of the political party being allowed to smile and brag of his success on the TV. This hosted by the very country that enjoyed the assistance of fighting men whom aided them in their war against Germany.
The deed, committed by those that thought the war would end by changing their format of attack, lost their own lives by the hands of the dedicated elite, sent out to track them.
Should the lives lost in the ensuing crashes be remembered in any other way than that of a monument in their memory? Should they be remembered differently from all the others who lost their lives either in battle or as casualties of war? No, but this monument acts to reminder us of those that lost their lives, trying to make a better country for its citizens.
A war of peace, one to bring a country wrought with ideals of power sharing, such as to suit all its citizens. Condemned to have to fight for what was right because politicians in other countries, including their own mother country, felt differently. A country, their mother country had claimed as their own, without thought or compensation to the occupants so many years ago, Rhodes the hero for acquiring it. Who was right?
The war was lost, and the result is there for all to see, a country once blessed with prosperity, now a doyen of how not to do things. A poor country where nearly 50% unemployed, staring starvation in the eye. A country where those that do not agree with the reigning power lose their lives, “agree to vote for the power of the country”, or suffer the consequences. Is this what third world countries envisaged when they pressurised the Rhodesian Government into submission? Is this what they thought the result would be?
Well the crowds gathered at the Monument again today, to remember those that went down in the second Viscount. It was blown out of the sky by a sam7 missile, fired by the enemy, without a care or thought as to who might be aboard. 59 died that day, the 12th February 1979, all civilians, we shall remember them…
The Benoni High School Pipe Band and Choir, aided the crowd by singing the two hymns “Amazing Grace” and “Abide with me”. The Emcee was the ever chirpy Mike Westcott, and the service was led by Lt Col The Rev. Bill Dodgen.
The Choir sang…………
And the Pipe band played….
The drums were beaten … raising the blood pressure in all that listened and remembered.. that day so many years ago…
The service was ended with the laying of wreaths…..
And the roll of names… WE WILL REMEMBER….