Pretoria

 

  We did not have much time for sight seeing in Pretoria apart from visiting the shopping Malls for a bite here and there and to "ship in" some provisions for our travels. However I wanted to show Malisa the Voortrekker Monument and just allow her a view of Pretoria from the Union Buildings. So we departed for a short visit of the Monument where the staff was very supportive to provide a wheel chair and help us go in at the back door to avoid the numerous steps leading up to the Monument itself. The guy pushing the wheel chair also acted as our own private "tour guide"

On another occasion we stopped at the Union Buildings for a view of downtown Pretoria. The gardens were beautiful and the sun out to allow a nice view.

We also stopped briefly at the Kruger House Museum - the house where President Kruger lived before his exile to Switzerland at the time of the Anglo Boer War.

 
   

Union Buildings

   
 

Union Buildings, Pretoria

 
 

A panoramic view of the Union Buildings in Pretoria

 
  Union Buiilding Gardens Left: A view of the lovely gardens of Union Buildings

Right: A beautifully restored red brick house in Arcadia, Pretoria

A red brick restored bulding in Arcadia Pretoria  
   

Kruger House

   
  The Kruger House Mseum in Church Street Pretoria President Paul Kruger's House - now a museum - and the Church across the street that he attended on Sundays. It is said that a red carpet was laid out across the street to the church on Sundays for his walk to the church but how true this is I don't know. It is generally taken that he lived a rather simple life for a man of his stature and importance.

Below is a front view of the Kruger House

The Reformed Church that Paul Kruger attended.  
   

Kruger House

   
   

Voortrekker Monument

   
   

Voortrekker Monument

   
         
 

We took Malisa to the Voortrekker Monument to get an idea of true Afrikaner culture and the trials and tribulations of our ancestors as they moved inland to escape British rule and the wars on the eastern border of the Cape Province.

 
     
  This monument is regarded as one of the most important in South Africa depicting and commemorating the "Trek" of a large section of the Afrikaans speaking South Africans to the interior of the country during the 18th century. To many Afrikaners this monument is still a symbol of their identity as a nation within a larger, cosmopolitan community.  

 

  Voortrekker leaders   The Great Trek occurred when a number of Boers decided to move to the interior of the country to escape British rule at the Cape. Later some more Afrikaners from Natal also trekked away from the British. The Trek ended with the Boers settling in various parts of the interior after fierce battles with African peoples. The Voortrekker Monument commemorates some of these battles.

Left: The Trek leaders are depicted by statues on the four corners of the monument. The leaders being Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter, Piet Retief and an "Unknown Afrikaner hero representing all the other trek leaders.

 

 

  The Monument is a 40 metre high square structure designed by architect Gerhard Moerdijk with some characteristics of the Volkerschlacht-Denkmal, in Leipzig, Germany. It took 11 years to build (1938-1949) and stands on a hill a few kilometres to the south west of Pretoria city centre. The hill forms part of a nature reserve hosting some antelope and the garden has a good selection of indigenous plants.

Malisa's photos has a particular charm since it depicts views of the Monument not always seen on photographs. We entered the monument via a path going around the gardens to avoid the many steps in front. The museum staff was very obliging in making a wheel chair with a guide available for our visit! That made the visit much more pleasant for all of us!

A belsbok - an antelope in the Voortrekker Monument Game reserve

A Blesbok in the monument's Nature Reserve

 

 

  The garden on the western side of the monument

One can enter the Monument by climbing a number of steps or by following a gentler walk and entering through a gate in the outer wall. The outer wall is decorated with wagons cast in synthetic granite. These wagons represent the circular way in which the Trekkers set up their wagons to form a laager for protection against wild animals and enemies.

Steps leading to the back entrance of the  monument  
       
  Wagon laeger as seen from the garden  
         
  Stone statue of Voortrekker leader

Trekker leaders

(as photographed by Malisa)

Voortrekker leader statue  
         
  A view of downtown Pretoria from the top of the monument

A view of Downtown Pretoria as seen from the top of the Voortrekker Monument. Note the Union Buildings on the hill in the Background.

Woman and children statue

 
  A statue of a Voortrekker woman and children by Anton van Wouw dominates the front wall of the monument. A set of steep circular steps or a convenient lift takes one to the top level from where a beautiful view of Pretoria and surroundings can be obtained.  

 

 

The cenotaph

The most famous feature of the Monument is the cenotaph in the basement. The cenotaph is  placed to allow a beam of direct sunlight to fall (through strategically placed gap in the roof) on the words "Ons vir jou Suid-Afrika" ("We for you South Africa") exactly at noon on 16 December every year. To the Afrikaners 16 December is observed as a day of reconciliation and the day was known as "Geloftedag" or "Day of the Vow" in commemoration of the Battle of Blood River. A few days before the battle the Calvinist Trekkers, who was under siege from the Zulu (in the province now known as Kwa-Zulu Natal), vowed that they would honour the day as a day of worship should they be victorious in the battle. They were successful and overcame the onslaught of the Zulu Impi's on the banks of the river Ncome which they re-named Blood River.

 
     
 

Marble mural in th emain hall

The main hall of the monument contains 32 marble panels depicting many events during the Great Trek but also showing what camp life was like. Some research was conducted to depict a typical dog of the Voortrekkers. The panels included here shows Voortrekker children with their toys and a dog.

The Voortrekker boys made clay oxen as well as ox wagons and oxen from the jaw bones and knuckles of slaughtered animals and the girls played with rag dolls. The photo on the right shows an exhibit of toys in the museum.

Close-up of children depicted in marble mural

 

Hand-made childrens' toys

   

The symbolic flame

   
   

A symbolic flame that was carried all over South Africa during the time of the inauguration of the monument is kept burning in a niche in the museum

   

 

 

Passage on outer top elevation of the Monument

An interior view from the inside top elevation

Beautiful stone work

 
 

The passage at the top level of the monument

The interior as seen from the inside top elevation

A fine example of the outer stone work

 

 

   

Bosau Guest House

   
         
  Before Malisa's departure we also paid a visit to the guest house of my friend Elize le Roux who also happens to be a hairdresser. After a hair cut and some nice chatting Elise took Malisa on a trip to show her the guest rooms and we also enjoyed the very nice garden and pool area. A few photos will give you an idea of how nice guest houses are in South Africa.  Most guest house owners make it a very personal experience for guests staying with them. They also like to share what they know about our country and overall staying in a guest house is not only relatively cheap in comparison to hotels but a far more rewarding opportunity to meet with the local people and experience a bit of the true South African life style..  

 

  Elize le Roux on the guest house patio

Elize on the patio and some idea of the garden and pool area

The photo below  - an en suite bedroom in the Bosau Guest house provides a good example of a  bathroom and bedroom in a nice South African guest house

Bosau Guest House garden

 
  Bosau Guest House garden Bosau Guest House pool  
  Bosau guest house bathroom

Guest house bedroom

Guest House bathroom