Customs and Traditions
Many cultures and organisations have rich Customs and Tradtions, 61 Mech is no different.
Toast Introduced by the Officer Commanding
At formal functions and selected events, the Officer Commanding 61 Mechanised Battalion Group presented a toast. This toast replaced – and took precedence over all traditional toasts usually proposed by OC’s and/or functionaries.
The toast was proposed by the OC saying “Mobilitat Vincere” whereby the rest of the assembly answered with a resounding “Six One”.
The toast was proposed using Black Sambuca and the OC’s toast could not be instated by anybody else than the Officer Commanding.
The Hind Memorial
Brass Church Bell
During the campaign in Southern Angola 61 Mech confiscated a brass church bell from one of the battlefields. The brass bell was adorned with the inscription “Ano de Santo – 1950” and decorated with ornate flowers and engravings, with the Christ crucifix.
The bell was probably removed from a church in the aftermath of the civil war at the end of the Portuguese occupation and it appears that FAPLA’s 43 Brigade sent signals to their battalion and used it to activate stages of battle preparedness.
During the attack in Operation Modular on 3 October 1987, 61 Mech destroyed this brigade and to commemorate this battle the bell was taken back to Omuthiya, 61 Mech’s base in SWA.
Second Lieutenant Hind
The bell became a memorial and was named after Second Lieutenant A.H. Hind who died on 3 October 1987 during the attack on FAPLA’s 43 Brigade.
The name of this recreational facility originated from the clash on 3 October 1987 in which the brass church bell that became the Hind Memorial, was taken possession of.
If the numbers of the date (3+10+87) on which the attack took place are added together, it adds up to 100, and from this the name of the club originated.
Commandant JJ (Bok) Smit, the Officer Commanding at the time, drew up the plans for the building that was erected to commemorate this battle.
Lieutenant Colonel Danie Laäs decided in 1996 to rebuild the original LOMBA 100 facility at Lohatla and Colonel Smit, who was then the Chief of Staff of the Army Battle School, was approached to assist in the reconstruction. He visited Omuthiya in Namibia to measure the original LOMBA 100 facility whereafter he drew up new plans.
On 6 August 1996 the second LOMBA 100 facility, at Lohatla, was officially opened by Colonel Smit.
The Omuthiya Special was a concoction of several tots of liquor, poured into a fire bucket that had to be downed in one gulp within 14 seconds by the designated participants.
This ritual took place when the new leadership group arrived at the Omuthiya base to take over from the group that had served during the preceding year.
Some participants declared that from the time that they had sipped the last drop from the fire bucket until they placed it on the table in front of them, a distinctive metamorphosis was experienced, which rendered them on rubber legs for the rest of the evening’s proceedings.