Voortrekker Monument, the Cenotaph.

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Post 2 of the Voortrekker Monument.

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 ‘We for Thee, South Africa’). The ray of light is said to symbolise God’s blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers. December 16, 1838 was the date of the Battle of Blood River, commemorated in South Africa before 1994 as the Day of the Vow.





The Cenotaph….

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The opening from the Hall of Heroes where the ray of the sun shines through and strikes the cenotaph on the 16th December at 12pm, seen in the picture on the right, the opening in the dome.

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The Hall of Heroes…                                                             The Cenotaph from the Hall of Heroes floor level…

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A climb takes you up to the top of the dome where one can see down to the floor of the Hall of Heroes and through the opening to the Cenotaph…

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Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.

Post 1 of the monument.

I made a visit to the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria today, (last in 1977), and felt, now I have a camera, to return and share our monument with you all… This is going to take more than one post to share the monument and all it has with you..

I’m going to use extracts from the Wikipedia description and you can see the full Wikipedia entry by clicking on the link.

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.

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The idea to build a monument in honour of the Voortrekkers 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. 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).

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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.

Physically, the Voortrekker Monument is 40 metres high, with a base of 40 metres by 40 metres. The building shares architectural resemblance with European monuments such the Dôme des Invalids in France and the Völkerschlachtdenkmal in Germany but also contain African influences. The two main points of interest inside the building are the Historical Frieze and the Cenotaph.

The main entrance of the building leads into the domed Hall of Heroes. This massive space, flanked by four huge arched windows made from yellow Belgian glass, contains the unique marble Historical Frieze which is an intrinsic part of the design of the monument. It is the biggest marble frieze in the world.

The frieze consists of 27 bas-relief panels depicting the history of the Great Trek, but incorporating references to every day life, work methods and religious beliefs of the Voortrekkers. The set of panels illustrate key historical scenes starting from the first voortrekkers of 1835, up to the signing of the Sand River Convention in 1852. In the centre of the floor of the Hall of Heroes is a large circular opening through which the Cenotaph in the Cenotaph Hall can be viewed.

Picture of the Anton van Wouw’s bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children, ……….

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Pictures of the frieze, that extend around all the walls of the Hall of Heroes, depicting a historical time line ……….

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