Author: Madre du Plessis
12 April 2012
The team, including members of the Friends of Tygerberg Hills, Mech-O-Care, the Cannon Association of South Africa and staff from the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, gathers around the cannon, back home on the top of the Tygerberg Hills.
The original cannon that stood on the Tygerberg Hills in the 1700’s has finally returned home. The cannon was manufactured around 1720 by a Swedish company, and was one of three 12 pounders in the approximately 54 gun system set up and used by The Dutch East India Company.
The cannon was used to call the burghers to arms in the event of an attack on the Colony, and was only used on 5 occasions: the first two were tests prior to the Battle of Muizenberg; then a false alarm and lastly prior to the Battle of Blouberg. The 12-pounder required a kilogram of expensive powder with each firing.
The entire journey of the Tygerberg Hills cannon is not certain, but it is believed that it served time as a fence post on the border of the De Grendel farm. In 1994, it was moved to the entrance of the Parow Municipal Building. At some point, a pedestal was built for the cannon, and it was moved to the pavement on Voortrekker Road, in front of the Municipal buildings.
After much negotiation between the Friends of Tygerberg Hills and various relevant bodies in Cape Town, the Heritage Department of the City of Cape Town kindly agreed to return this valuable commodity to its original site in the Tygerberg.
On Wed, 28 March 2012, in the capable hands of Rob Nash from Mech-O-Care, Gerry de Vries of the Cannon Association of South Africa, as well as members of the Friends of Tygerberg Hills and the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, the cannon was returned to its home on the Tygerberg Hills.
The Friends of Tygerberg Hills have undertaken to restore the cannon if at all possible so that it will once again be fired from the Tygerberg Hill on special occasions.
Special thanks to Bill Wilson and Pearl van Zyl who have spent many months and a great deal of time in sensitive negotiations to get the cannon home. Special thanks also to Rob Nash of Mech-O-Care, who lifted and transported this weighty piece of history with great expertise and care … at no cost whatsoever to the Friends of Tygerberg Hills. We are greatly appreciative. And last, but not least, special thanks to Gerry de Vries of the Cannon Association of South Africa for his expertise and assistance in the relocation of cannons.
For more photographs of the move, take a look at the gallery on our Facebook page.