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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17 thoughts on “Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.

  1. The last time I was there was also many years ago. We were caravaning at The Fountains nearby and my late dad took us to the monument. This has brought back wonderful memories of that visit with him. The pictures are great. That stone work is quite amazing.

    • It is impressive but tomorrows is for me more fascinating than anything else.. I’m so impressed, a monument that was build in 1938 could be so magnificently built… and to such an accuracy…

  2. Great photos, and info, bdt. This is such an important part of South Africa’s history. I’m so glad to see that it’s well cared for, and easily accessible for those who want to go there. I was also last there in the mid 1970’s.

    • I must admit I suspected to see it going down hill due to what it represents, just goes to show that I should not have preconceived ideas… it so well looked after… brilliant…

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