The Scouting Flame of Friendship lives on!

In light of our recent Virtual Campfire Chat about the “Flame of Friendship” we spoke to Mr Gosego Lawrence “Randoda” Maselwanyana and Mr Stanley “Stan” Peckham – who were both members of the Flame running team – about Scouting, friendship and what being part of this symbolic event has meant to them.

On the 11th of March 1985 the Mahikeng Town Council and citizens celebrated the Centenary of the Siege of Mahikeng. The South African Scout Movement was invited to join the celebrations and organised a Mafikeng Centenary Camporee and the transference of a “Flame of Friendship”.

The Flame of Friendship was an initiative of the British and South African Scout Associations in partnership with Safleisure – the owners of the Astor Cruise Ship. A Flame representing the spirit of Scouting friendship was carried by Scout runners from London (birthplace of B-P), via Charterhouse (his school) to Southampton from where it was conveyed by ship to Cape Town. In order to transfer the Flame safely on board, it was transferred from the torch to a small hurricane lantern and placed on the bridge of the ship. During the voyage the lantern was in the care of the Officer of the Watch. After its arrival the ‘Flame of Friendship’ lantern and the Stone from Brownsea Island was entrusted to the SA Chief Scout Mr Colin Inglis. From Cape Town, SA “flame runners” carried it by road via Bloemfontein, Welkom, Johannesburg, and Pretoria to arrive at Mafikeng on Saturday, 16 March 1985.

Stan Photo: Scout Wiki

1st Somerset West Scout Stanley ‘Stan’ Peckham was one of the first runners to receive the Flame. “When the flame arrived in Cape Town it was handed over to our Chief Scout. Shortly afterwards it was handed over to me to carry through the streets of Cape Town. After my stretch was completed, I handed it over to the next Scout”, reminisces Stan. “I must have been 16 years old and there were a lot of people there. I still remember that I was as nervous as I was excited! I think I was asked to run as I was a member of the World Scout Jamboree contingent. I was very honoured to be handed the lantern”, he adds. Stan had joined the Scout Movement as a Cub with 1st Somerset West. After obtaining his Leaping Wolf, he embraced his Scout journey which included the WSJ in Alberta Canada. “I still remember landing in New York and seeing high rises for the first time. As a lad from a small town I had never seen anything like it! It definitely was an experience like no other. In fact I made some great friends there including Metta from Denmark and Chris from America – with whom I still sporadically communicate. As a Scout we used to go hiking in the mountains nearly every weekend. The summer camps were also epic! After obtaining my Springbok the time came to start working and my Scouting career ended. But I truly believe that the camaraderie and friendships formed through Scouting really reinforced the incredible experiences I had as a youngster. In fact, my Scouting buddy Greg and I are currently scheduled for our first Adult Leader course as we plan on rekindling our Scout journey by volunteering with 1st Somerset West. My daughter Amy has finalised her Leaping Wolf and my son Luke is a Cub. Greg’s daughter Emma is also nearing Scouting age, so together we will be able to give back. Scouting was definitely a good way of growing up!” he concludes.

As the Flame was transferred from Scout to Scout through the country, it made its way to Groot Marico where a delegation of Scouts from the North West Region were on hand to run the torch in relay formation to Mahikeng for the Flame Lighting Ceremony.

Randoda Photo: supplied

2nd Montshiwa Scout Gosego Lawrence “Randoda” Maselwanyana was one of the Scout runners. “I was selected by my Scout Master Mr Kenneth Mongake to be one of the runners in the Flame of Friendship event. I was very honoured to do so and felt very blessed to be the one to carry to torch. I still remember how we all camped at Cookes Lake before we met up with the runners bringing the Flame to us. The lantern with the Flame was not heavy, nor was it hard to run the distance as we ran in relay”, he explains. “At the Flame Lighting Ceremony we met Scouts from other countries and other Regions. Communication was different back then and so I lost contact with them, however I have kept in touch with my former Scout Master who I now consider a very good friend”, he adds with a smile. When asked what he remembers from his Scouting days, he responds “It was a lot of fun! I actually learnt many things I wouldn’t have learnt without Scouting. Some of my favourites were knotting and life orientation skills. I also have fond memories of our camping trips, hikes and the games we used to play. In 1989 I left Mahikeng and moved to the Free State where it wasn’t possible for me to continue my Scouting journey. Now that I am back in the North West I am keen to find out more about Scouting in my community”, he adds.

Whilst talking to Randoda his friend and former Scout Leader Kenneth Mongake joins him. “As his Scout Master I selected him to be a runner due to his outstanding Scout efforts and physical abilities”, adds Kenneth. ”I am very proud of the man he has become. Many of the boys I led have grown to be outstanding members of our community. I’m glad to call them my friends and it feels good to know that I was able to inspire them to be good leaders.”

On arrival in Mahikeng the permanent Flame of Friendship was lit by the Secretary-General of the World Scout Bureau, Mr Laszlo Nagy. It is housed in a granite monument in the Town Square.

Source information and archive imagery: SCOUTS SA Wiki 

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