Pretoria: 09 November 2015
South Africans could sooner than later readily wake up and smell the oceans around them, or while forever focused solely on the inland, rise up one day with no longer any effective control over their 3000km ocean line, never mind a heritage they could boast about.
This was the stark warning issued by participants in a Maritime Heritage Round Table discussion held in Cape Town recently.
Involved in the discussions held alongside the inaugural SA Ocean Festival, on board the SA Agulhas at Table Bay harbour, were three former ANC Umkhonto WeSizwe cadres with some unique maritime warfare experience, Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 91.
The three are part of group of only five still alive in the country today who were part of a select unit of MK soldiers involved in attempts to infiltrate South Africa for military purposes in the early 70’s, using ocean bound vessels including a United Soviet Socialist Republics’ (USSR) owned ship known as the Aventura.
Their key input at the Maritime Heritage Round Table discussion focused on the need for South Africa to expand and increase its education effort for the nation about the importance of the maritime sector, from both an economic and social perspective.