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When I posted about “The Tattoo” on my WhatsApp status, almost everybody asked me what tattoo I was going to get. I found this hilarious, since I was under the impression that everyone has, most certainly, heard about this magnificent event. Now just imagine my surprise when I found out that none of these people have ever heard of the South African Tattoo before.
Having once graced the Outdoor Arena at MonteCasino, Fourways, the South African Tattoo was finally back, but this time, with a new home, The Sun Arena at Time Square Casino, Menlyn Maine. The show made its return, on 6 and 7 October 2018, with two days of unbelievable performances from The South African Military Band; The South African Highland Dancers, joined by the OzScot Highland Dancers from Australia; The Massed Pipes and Drums; The Johannesburg Youth Orchestra; Saint Dominic’s Drum Majorettes (The Saints); The South African Irish Dancers & many more.
When I first heard that the Tattoo was coming back, my first instinct was to buy a ticket. I have always loved the Tattoo since attending in 2013, and it’s always been a dream of mine to one day be a part of the magic. That is why, as I write this article, I feel a sense of pride in having to be able to photograph and write about this one-of-a-kind show.
The show celebrated the 100 Years since the end of World War 1 and also the life of our great Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 this year. The evening commenced with an officer of the South African Military, walking on to the arena carrying a bouquet of flowers and placing it in the centre of the venue. Hereafter, the audience observed a moment of silence for all of our fallen heroes during the War and over the years that passed.
We were treated to an amazing performance by the Massed Pipes and Drums, which consisted of various artists from different bands. I always get goose bumps when I hear the spectacular sounds of all of these instruments blended together as one.
A major highlight for me was seeing the South African Military in action, with a demonstration of how they perform hostage rescues and even retrieving casualties during a battle. Included in the demonstration, a few officers jumped off the roof using ropes, simulating a helicopter rescue.
The South African Irish Dancers quite rather blew me away with their stellar performance and mind blowing moves. I even had the pleasure to catch up with one of the performers. Morgan Engelbrecht expressed what a fun and memorable experience it really was for her, saying “It was amazing learning about different art forms and making new friends with people from different countries. I am really grateful to have been part of the SA Tattoo 2018”.
Arguably my favourite performers for the night were The Saint Dominic’s Drum Majorettes who are no strangers to the stage, having performed internationally and winning numerous awards over the years. The Saints are extremely talented and you can clearly see that each one of the performers in the group have a passion for what they do and really enjoy doing it.
The show had a delightful performance by singer, Corlea Botha. Corlea kept the audience captivated by her magnificent voice and also lead us into the South African National Anthem, while being accompanied by all of the musicians of the night on their respective instruments.
The evening was filled with entertainment that kept everyone, young and old, wanting more. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, so we regrettably had to say good bye to the South African Tattoo for another year.
I really have to commend the organizers and everyone involved in getting everything up to scratch, considering the more than 500 performers involved in making the show what it is.
Once again, a heartfelt thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful experience. I really hope to do this again, at the next one.