Based in Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa, Nelson Mandela Artillery Pipes & Drums historically dates back to 1952 when Corporal Piper Ken Langlands decided to form the Cape Town Stewarts School of Piping. He applied to the Royal Caledonian Schools as an affiliate member and was thereby also granted permission to wear the Royal Stewart tartan. In 1973 with the band’s practice venue lease in Woodstock due to expire, Ken Langland’s decided to seek an alternate venue for practising. The Nelson Mandela Artillery Band was approached and the Officer Commanding Lt-Col Lionel Crook who was an ardent admirer of the bagpipe agreed that In exchange for the use of the facilities the band would perform when required as the Nelson Mandela Artillery Pipe Band and after lengthy consultation the band gained official military recognition. The band is now into its 40th year of tenure under the leadership of it’s 5th Pipe-Major Grant Scheffel who is taking the band into its next dimension. The band is led onto parade by Drum-Major Bill White. The band has shared the parade grounds and concert platforms with the likes of the internationally acclaimed SA Navy Band and frequently appears with the SA Army Band Cape Town
Many of the Nelson Mandela Artillery Pipes & Drums musicians are multi-instrumentalists and enjoy creating all sorts of new facets to their Afro-Celtic sounds. The band members are all civilian or volunteer musicians in the SANDF Reserve Force and come from all walks of life. We have a few students, a few pensioners, banking officials, a travel agent, various big business representatives and even a winemaker amongst our members. The band performs under Pipe Major Scheffel and Drum Major Bill White. It can now boast firm ranks of 20 members with a full learner group coming up through the ranks and practices at the historic Castle of Good Hope. Whether on the concert platform or on parade Nelson Mandela Artillery Pipes & Drums is proud to a part of the Cape Town Pipe Band Fraternity.
The Royal Stewart tartan is the best known tartan of the royal House of Stewart, and is also the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II.