KNYSNA NEWS - Thursday, July 25 was a big day for nine former Knysna Sea Cadets, their former officer commanding Lt-Cdr (SCC) Steve Eriksen, his wife Lt (SCC) Melany Eriksen, their parents and grandparents, as the cadets concluded their basic Navy training at SAS Saldanha, Saldanha Bay, where a special parade ceremony marked the achievement.
The former Sea Cadets, Sean Gelant, Dillin September, Jason Petersen, Ryan Filander, Jason Alie, Ferges Petersen, Percilene Bouw, Brandon Kiwido and Hezron Lewis left home (the first time, for some) in February this year to join the South African Navy where they were absorbed into a different way of life. For three months they were subject to rising at early hours and days filled with physical exercise and teamwork training. Meals were carefully planned to burn off excess fat and build up muscle, idle time was unknown.
Having been generally moulded into shape by the stern warrant officers and fierce petty officers, they began their wider training, acquiring skills which would make them broadly useful to the Navy. By July they had become competent seamen and had a chance to identify the branches of service they wished to apply for.
On July 25, 491 young men and women put on a magnificent parade, the Deputy Minister of Defence Thabang Makwetla made a speech in response to the Officer Commanding, Captain Sello Malepe, and prizes were awarded to those whose performance warranted recognition. Ferges Petersen, a former Cadet Petty Officer of Knysna won the Seamanship Prize. No doubt the fact that he was himself giving sailing and boating instruction to other recruits did not pass unnoticed.
The nine will go on various musterings. First prize was that chosen by Jason Petersen being seamanship, which will put him on board the Frigate SAS Mendi going to Brazil for the World Cup. Jason Alie and Hezron Lewis are to train on Radar, a technical branch with much potential. Dillin September, Percilene Bouw and Brandon Kiwido are to be weapons operators, while Ferges Petersen, Sean Gelant and Ryan Filander have chosen Mine Countermeasures, so they may visit Knysna during the 2014 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival on board visiting mine-hunters. (In conversation with Eriksen, the Chief of the Navy, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, said how sorry he was that their visit to this year's festival had been cancelled, but promised that he would be present in 2014.)
With their former officer commanding, Lt-Commander Steven Eriksen and his wife Lt Melany Eriksen, the nine former TS Knysna Cadets posed for the commemorative photograph after their parade at SAS Saldanha. They are (from left): Sean Gelant, Dillin September, Jason Petersen, Ryan Filander, Jason Alie, Melany Eriksen, Steven Eriksen, Ferges Petersen, Percilene Bouw, Brandon Kiwido and Hezron Lewis.
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