Mayor to confer freedom of the City of Oudtshoorn to the Infantry Formation

Oudtshoorn, 16 October 2018 – Members of the media and the public of the Greater Oudtshoorn are invited to witness the Freedom of the City Parade that will be held on Friday, 26 October 2018 at 08:00 in the town centre of Oudtshoorn towards the Oudtshoorn Municipality headquarters in Voortrekker Road.

The Executive Mayor, Cllr. Colan Sylvester will deliver a speech to bestow the Freedom of our Town on the South African ARMY INFANTRY FORMATION in Oudtshoorn. 

This is an ancient honour granted to military units and organizations, allowing them the privilege to march into the city “with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed”.

This honour dates back to the laws of ancient Rome, which made it a capital offense for Roman soldiers to enter the city in formation or with weapons, without permission. This was to ensure that ambitious generals did not mount a military coup against the government. Similar laws were passed by European cities throughout the Medieval era, also to protect civic security and rights, even against their own king’s troops.

Legions, regiments or military units that had given heroic service or whose honour was beyond question, might be granted the Freedom of the City. In this case, the group would not have to disarm or break ranks before the city gates were opened to allow them entry. Given the serious risk the city would be running, this was a rare honour.

Today military freedom of the city is an entirely ceremonial honour, but remains the oldest and highest civic honour in the world.

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