2014 is not an ordinary day for South Africans and the
world. As billions of people celebrated the Nelson Mandela
International Day, the South African Air Force (SAAF) hosted
a medal parade.
The parade was held at 68 Air School. It was in honour
airmen and women who selflessly served the country and the
continent. Former statesmen Mandela is what he advocated for
serving ones country without expecting much.
Soldiers around the world display medals proudly on their
chest as a symbol of honour, bravery and loyalty. According
to Brigadier General Martie Visser, who was the review
officer the event on the day ought to be celebrated in the
context of the 20 years of South Africa’s hard earned
Moreover, she said “the SAAF has come a long way and was on
its journey of change and transformation”. Members on parade
and those who came to witness the event were urged by Brig
Gen Visser to live according to Mandela’s values. She added
that because they are interrelated to the South African
National Defence Force (SANDF) Code of Conduct, for military
and Public Service Act Administration (PSAP) members. In
speaking about the SAAF’s vision, she urged members to
continue working together for a better SAAF and country.
The general also spoke about the austerity measures that the
organisation has had to implement; she said “more has to be
done with less”. The SAAF requires a genuine commitment from
each member to strive towards the vision of the air force.
The general said that applies to all members of the
On the day 10 and 20 years medals were awarded to uniform
members while 3 civilian members from the 68 Air School Mess
received 30 years certificates. The SAAF awarded the
certificates of long and unbroken service to Mr L.S. Matsu,
Mrs M.E. Mokone and Mrs M.M. Mawelele.
Speaking to Ad Astra Correspondent, Mrs Mawelele and Mokone
joined the organisation on 17 February 1981. They said their
monthly salary back then was around R79, 00. When asked if
it was enough, Mrs Mokone laughing said “yes it was because
we could manage to eat and pay bills”. Technology came with
innovative way as they now receive salary advices of world
According to Mokone, back then all the information that
appear of today’s document “were on a small piece of
cardboard and it was hand written”. Mawelele will miss the
SAAF when pension time comes, her best friend and colleague
Mokone starts her pension next year. They urged those
entering the job market now to respect their bosses so that
they too reach over 30 years’ of service.