World Jamborees: 1971 Report

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1971 - 13th World Jamboree, Asagiri Heights, Japan

Jamboree Badge

2 – 10 August / Participants 23 758 / Countries 87 / South Africans 47 / Cost R1300

On Sunday morning 11th July, Scouts that would be attending the 13th World Jamboree, started gathering at the Holiday Inn in Johannesburg. They were from all parts of South Africa and this was to be their 'shakedown camp'.

Here they were divided into their Patrols and over the next two days had some time to get to know each other, do some sightseeing and practice making 'koeksusters' for the Jamboree.

Pre Jamboree Tour

The SA Contingent

On Tuesday 13th July they departed for Athens and after a long flight, the first for many, they were given a very warm reception by the Greek Boy Scouts. After spending a further day in Athens visiting many of the main tourist attractions, they flew on to Bangkok via Tehran. While in Bangkok, with the temperature at 30°C., they visited the Imperial Palace, a Floating Market, various temples, pagodas and most memorable of all, Timland (Thailand-in-Miniature). After a pleasant stay in Bangkok they moved on to Hong Kong, where they stayed at the YMCA. Sightseeing introduced the Scouts to Sampans, Junks and a tour included Kowloon, the New Territories and a floating restaurant, and a magnificent view from Victoria Peak.

Before moving to Tokyo they stopped over in Taipei for two days, where they were met by the Chinese Scouts and did some sightseeing that included parks, palaces, shrines and museums. They arrived at Tokyo Airport on the 21st July, where they were met by the Japanese Scouts and taken to the Olympic Youth Memorial Centre.

The next day they travelled to Nikko which is north of Tokyo, and then up into the mountains to a popular tourist resort called Chuzenzi. They stayed in a Japanese styled hotel drinking green tea and sat cross-legged on the floor to eat their supper. Here it was boat trips, waterfalls, cable cars, with a most memorable event here of dining in the revolving restaurant. It was then back to Tokyo for a few days taking in the Sony building, Imperial Palace and exploring the city.

Then off in the Bullet train to Ise where they saw the Ise Shrine. This was followed by a free day that allowed for some swimming and walking around the shore area.

It was then time to set off for the Jamboree campsite, which entailed catching a train to Fuji and then by bus to start setting up their campsite.

The Jamboree

SA Campsite with Mt Fuji as a backdrop

On Saturday 31st July they arrived at Jamboree site and proceeded to set up camp. The Japanese Scouts were excellent hosts and did their very best to make everyone happy and get the Jamboree going smoothly.

Although it was very hot on the Sunday the contingent progressed well in setting up most of the campsite, which included a fine gateway and an exhibition tent. It was then not long after these tasks were finished, that the badge swapping stared in earnest.

The South Africans were in sub camp Yamato 19 with the New Zealanders and Japanese opposite, Koreans to the left and Americans behind them.

On 2nd August the Opening Ceremony was staged. This was very colourful, and extremely well organised. The South African flag party made quite a hit with Japanese Cubs and Cub Mistresses. At the Opening Ceremony millions of coloured balloons were let off, fireworks were set off, the flags of some previous jamborees and of the present jamboree were raised, and then all the flags of the various nations were raised.

To the strains of a guitar, the SA Contingent sings "Akarui Michi 0", the Jamboree song.

The South African Contingent appeared twice at Skill-o-rama with such items as National Songs and a band in the music section, foil cooking and simulated first aid. It was also a good place for trading.

On the 5th August, Typhoon Olive struck the Jamboree site with winds of up to 120 kph and within the period of 48 hours 600 mm of rainfall was measured. During the Typhoon which lasted all of 3 days, some SA Contingent stayed in their sleeping bags playing cards and eating with the rest of their Patrol members.

Thousands of Scouts and Scouters had to be evacuated to Buddhist temples, schools, and nearby military bases as mud and water swirled thigh deep in places. But soon after the Jamboree camp was back in action again, spirits un-dampened. The South Africans were fortunate, being camped on higher ground and kept on the whole quite dry, and did not evacuate at all.

After the typhoon everything was calm, and they proceeded to have the koeksuster party. During this Neil Armstrong visited them. Due to the typhoon they had forgotten to "acquire" some baking powder for the koeksusters, so they used Eno's instead. This went off all right, although they did not have so many visitors.

They attended a number of campfires, the most enjoyable being the one with the New Zealanders and Americans in the South African campsite.

On the 10th August the Jamboree closed with a very colourful ceremony and a magnificent fireworks display.

The Return Trip

The morning after the Closing Ceremony, was spend packing up and tidying the site. By midday these tasks were completed and as they left for Tokyo the weather cleared to give them a magnificent farewell view of Mount Fuji. With the afternoon free they were able to do some last minute shopping and sightseeing.

On the 12th they left Tokyo on their long flight onboard a Japanese Airline, that flew via Moscow to Paris. For some, that evening was spent enjoying a nice jucy steak and the following day there was a bus tour of Paris.

With their free time they were fascinated by the Paris nightlife which included a meal in the Eiffel Tower and for some a film that they were sure would never have been allowed to be seen in South Africa!

The next morning they had a short flight to Brussels and a tour of the city before boarding for Johannesburg in the afternoon.

Badges and insignia

Right breast pocket (1)
Left breast pocket (2)

The South African Contingent to the 1971 Jamboree wore a hatband and woggle made of Springbok skin and the following badges on their uniform.

1 Worn at previous Jamborees, this had now become the 'Official South Africa Badge' and it replaced the Divisional Badge.

2. Introduced for the first time at the 1971 Jamboree, this replaced the SA Scout Association badge.

Visit by astronaut Neil Armstrong to SA Campsite

Colin Stretton and Dan Radebe chat to Neil Armstrong during his surprise visit to the South African Campsite

From: Scouting About - Spring 2012

We are all very aware of the wonderful feat this man achieved, the first person from earth to set foot on the moon. Some of us oldies recall listening on the radio (no TV in South Africa in those days) to the broadcast on 21st July 1969 when he pronounced "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Later, transfixed to the radio: Could that tiny landing craft actually take off from the moon surface and take those brave men to the circling spacecraft and return to earth? Neil, Commander of the Apollo 11 space mission, is so remembered.

All that is history today, but did you know that Neil Armstrong was very proud to announce that he was an Eagle Scout when he was a boy, and that as an adult he was a Scout Leader in his home town. He received many national honours as can be expected, among them his country's highest Scout awards.

On an August day in 1971, during the World Jamboree in Japan, this fellow strolls into the South African campsite, just in time to join us and our special guests at a "Koeksuster and Coffee Party." Dressed in a smart American Scout uniform he announces; "Neil Armstrong, I am so pleased to be with you." This is a moment I will remember all the days of my life. No fanfare, just one of the visiting Scouters. He greeted all of us with the left handshake, every Scouter and South African Scout in camp, as well as our guests, and chatted with everyone as an old friend.

He left us with a message written across a page of our Camp Log Book. "To the friendliest camp at the Jamboree – With Best of Luck" – signed Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11.

Neil Armstrong 5th August 1930 – 25th August 2012

Today this memorial is at the site of the Jamboree Arena.

S A Scout Heritage

See Also