We’re back in Marloth Park…The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria…An important part of South African history…

The skyline of downtown Pretoria.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

On Sunday morning, we were surprised to see wildlife at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve we drove through in Pretoria with Don.
Wildebeest and their young lounging on the hill in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.

The return drive from Pretoria to Marloth Park took us a little over four hours, with one pit stop along the way. In part, we traveled an alternate route that didn’t require more driving time but included stunning scenery along the way. We’d never driven this route in the past.

The Voortrekker Monument is an unusual-looking structure located in Pretoria, South Africa.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to stop for photos along the way due to traffic and lack of areas to safely pull over. Although, overall the traffic was lighter than we’d expected with the end of the holiday season approaching.

Upon returning to the house, within minutes we had visitors, six warthogs including Mike and Joe, and some unfamiliar females. We looked for Little but didn’t see him all evening.  

After walking up many flights of stairs, we entered the Voortrekker Museum with a wide array of historical fart forms, including sculptures.

When we set up the veranda for the evening, nine kudus and a male bushbuck stopped by, along with several unknown warthogs. Two noisy hornbills hooted from a tree in front of the veranda, asking for seeds. We complied. 

This morning the sightings have been sparse; mom and four baby warthogs who have grown since we saw them only days ago and a few others, none of whom we know. I’m confident that by this evening, more will appear.

In the interim, the power went out again this morning but only for an hour. We just weren’t in the mood for an outage but then again, when would anyone welcome an outage?

Similar sculptures lined the walls of the museum.

Supposedly, in the next several days, load shedding will begin again. Oh. Need I say how annoying this is, especially when it’s scorching and humid? If you don’t see a post, please know we’re experiencing power outages and can’t get online during these periods.

Collections of artifacts are displayed in glass cases.

When Kathy and Don asked us to stay an extra day, Don took us out for some sightseeing on Sunday morning.  As shown in the above photos, we drove through the Groenkloof Nature Reserve with fantastic views of the city of Pretoria from a high elevation in the park.

From there, we drove to the Voortrekker Monument. Don had been through the monument and its museum many times in the past and he decided to wander around the ground while we entered the unusual-looking structure.

Exquisite paintings and tapestries lined several walls at The Voortrekker Museum.

Exploring the museum required walking up more steps than we’d seen in a long time, even after entering the building when we ventured to other levels to see the various displays.

Here’s information from this site with details of the war is described as  follows:

“The Battle of Blood River (Afrikaans: Slag van Bloedrivier; Zulu: iMpi yaseNcome) is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers (“Pioneers”), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated “10,000 to 15,000 Zulu on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Casualties amounted to over 3,000 of King Dingane‘s soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with Prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Pioneer commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius.

“The year 1838 was the most difficult period for the Voortrekkers since they left the Cape Colony, till the end of the Great Trek. They were plagued by many disasters and much bloodshed before they found freedom and a safe homeland in their Republic of Natalia. This could only be achieved by crushing the power of the Zulu King, Dingane, at the greatest battle ever fought in South Africa, namely the Battle of Blood River, which took place on Sunday 16 December 1838.”

In the sequel to the Battle of Blood River in January 1840, Prince Mpande finally defeated King Dingane in the Battle of Maqongqe and was subsequently crowned as new king of the Zulu by his alliance partner Andries Pretorius. After these two battles, Dingane’s prime minister and commander in both the Battle of Maqongqe and the Battle of Blood River, General Ndlela, was strangled to death by Dingane for high treason. General Ndlela had been the personal protector of Prince Mpande, who after the Battles of Blood River and Maqongqe, became king and founder of the Zulu.

The attention to detail by the artists is astounding.
From this site, the following was established to commemorate the Zulu soldiers who died in the battle:

“Finally, in December 1998, a memorial for the 3,000 Zulu soldiers who died in the battle, was inaugurated by Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi across the river from the Afrikaner monument. The historic anniversary of the ‘Day of the Vow’ has been renamed ‘Reconciliation Day’ in New South Africa.”

As for the development of the Voortrekker Monument, see this section below from this site:

Voortrekker Monument

“The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.
The idea to build a monument in honour of God was first discussed on 16 December 1888, when President Paul Kruger of the South African Republic attended the Day of the Covenant celebrations at Blood River in Natal. However, the movement to actually build such a monument only started in 1931 when the Sentrale Volksmonumentekomitee (SVK) (Central People’s Monuments Committee) was formed to bring this idea to fruition.
Construction started on 13 July 1937 with a sod-turning ceremony performed by the chairman of the SVK, Advocate Ernest George Jansen, on what later became known as Monument Hill. On 16 December 1938, the cornerstone was laid by three descendants of some of the Voortrekker leaders: Mrs. J.C. Muller (granddaughter of Andries Pretorius), Mrs. K.F. Ackerman (great-granddaughter of Hendrik Potgieter), and Mrs. J.C. Preller (great-granddaughter of Piet Retief).
The Monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 by the then-prime minister D. F. Malan. The total construction cost of the Monument was about £ 360,000, most of which was contributed by the South African government.
A large amphitheater, which seats approximately 20,000 people, was erected to the northeast of the Monument in 1949.
A wide array of artifacts are available for viewing.

The Cenotaph, situated in the centre of the Cenotaph Hall, is the central focus of the monument. In addition to being viewable from the Hall of Heroes, it can also be seen from the dome at the top of the building, from where much of the interior of the monument can be viewed. Through an opening in this dome a ray of sunlight shines at twelve o’clock on 16 December annually, falling onto the centre of the Cenotaph, striking the words ‘Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika’ (Afrikaans for ‘Us for you, South Africa’). The ray of light is said to symbolise God’s blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers. 16 December 1838 was the date of the Battle of Blood River, commemorated in South Africa before 1994 as the Day of the Vow.

The Cenotaph Hall is decorated with the flags of the different Voortrekker Republics and contains wall tapestries depicting the Voortrekkers as well as several display cases with artifacts from the Great Trek. Against the northern wall of the hall is a niche with a lantern in which a flame has been kept burning ever since 1938. That year, the symbolic Ox Wagon Trek, which started in Cape Town and ended at Monument Hill, where the Monument’s foundation stone was laid, took place.

At the foot of the Monument stands Anton van Wouw’s bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children, paying homage to the strength and courage of the Voortrekker women. On both sides of this sculpture, black wildebeest are chiseled into the walls of the Monument. The wildebeest symbolically depicts the dangers of Africa and their symbolic flight implies that the woman, carrier of Western civilisation, is triumphant.

The flash of my camera appeared in the photo of this beautiful tapestry.

On each outside corner of the Monument, a statue represents Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter, and an “unknown” leader (representative of all the other Voortrekker leaders). Each statue weighs approximately 6 tons.

At the eastern corner of the monument, on the same level as its entrance, is the foundation stone.

Under the foundation stone is buried: A copy of the Trekker Vow on 16 December 1838. A copy of the anthem “Die Stem.” A copy of the land deal between the Trekkers under Piet Retief and the Zulus under King Dingane.

In the years following its construction, the monument complex was expanded several times and now includes:

An indigenous garden surrounds the monument.
The Wall of Remembrance is dedicated to those who lost their lives while serving in the South African Defence Force.
Fort Schanskop, a nearby fort built-in 1897 by the government of the South African Republic after the Jameson Raid and now a museum.
The Schanskop open-air amphitheater with seating for 357 people was officially opened on 30 January 2001.
A garden of remembrance.
A nature reserve was declared on 3.41 km² around the Monument in 1992. Game found on the reserve includes Zebras, Blesbok, Mountain Reedbuck, Springbok, and Impala.
A Wall of Remembrance was constructed near the Monument in 2009. It was built to commemorate the South African Defence Force members who died in service of their country between 1961 and 1994.
An Afrikaner heritage centre, was built to preserve the heritage of the Afrikaans-speaking portion of South Africa’s population and their contribution to the history of the country.”

Note: Many English words are spelled differently in South African text such as centre, civilisation, etc. As such, these are not misspelled. 

A miniature model of the wagons was used to make their way across the rugged terrain.

After our sightseeing tour, we drove back to the house, where a short time later we took off for further celebrations of Don’s birthday which we shared in yesterday’s post as indicated here.

Summing up the three days and nights we spent in Pretoria with Kathy and Don…it couldn’t have been better!  We look forward to seeing them one more time before we depart Marloth Park in a mere 37 days. Wow! The time is flying by!

With the power back on, the temperature warm but not unbearable, we’re having a good day. Today, I’ll be working on the menu and grocery list for Rita’s upcoming birthday party following Monday.  

Tomorrow, I have another dentist appointment at 9:00 am after which we’ll grocery shop; thus, the post won’t be available until later in the day.

May your day be filled with wonders!
                                             Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2018:

This dish may have looked messy but it was the best meal I’ve had since we arrived in Buenos Aires at the Rave Restaurant. It included white salmon, prawns, mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, onions, garlic, all cooked in real butter. It was perfect for my way of eating and delicious.  For more photos, please click here.

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