Heritage Centre

New Heritage Centre on the Voortrekker Mon-ument site in Pretoria

Opened 5 September 2008


To the left of the word “Erfenissentrum’ is a stylized modern emblem in colour, which has its origin in Western folk art which was also adopted by the Afrikaner. The strong circle motif is based on an orbiting whorl and a round flower. These art motifs are usually found on the edges of powder horns and the headpieces of bonnets (as seen in the Voortrekker Monument museum).

The symbolism of the emblem is carried further by the lines with the connected dots to the central point (the heritage foundation), where ideas, elements, events, cultures etc that have made an impact over the years and that were part of the forming of a nation, are each individually important. If they are put together a bigger picture emerges – therefore a large heritage which grows daily as a legacy for future generations. This is illustrated by the use of the forms.


The Heritage Centre is the flagship project of the Heritage Foundation, a non-profit company aimed at the preservation and conservation of threatened heritage resources of special significance to the Afrikaans speaking part of the nation. Its management is handled by the personnel of the Voortrekker Monument.

The exhibition is the most visible part of the Heritage Centre. The theme is: Afrikaners in the 20th century; pioneers, beacons and bridges; postcard flashes from history. Given the complexity of South Africa’s history in the 20th century – this was a very ambitious and even risky undertaking that had to be completed with very few resources. Not everyone will necessarily agree with all aspects of the exhibition but it was impossible to undertake a more comprehensive project.

We trust that the exhibition will succeed to provide, as far as possible, an objective, honest, balanced and credible glimpse of the role and contribution of a nation which under difficult circumstances has had an indisputable influence on the country. Therefore, South Africa could close the century as the world leader in several areas and as one of the leading countries on the African continent. During this time many mistakes were also made. May we learn from tehm and continue to work constructively towards the future of our country and its entire people.

Tamed Freedom

Hennie Potgieter (1916-1992)

The statue was completed in 1961 and is nearly 1,75 bigger than life-size. It stood on the lawn in Parliament Road, Pretoria and was moved to its current position at the Heritage Centre on 21 August 2008.

The root of all successful life expression is tempered freedom. It is the cornerstone of democracy. Freedom of expression should be a compromise of the community if it can, otherwise by force. This is also true for a family. Although every member of the family is free in his own house, he must also make many sacrifices concerning freedom of movement and speech, for the sake of the family. This is also true of every aspect of life, freedom of expression must never break down into anarchy, and freedom of speech should not be insulting. Potgieter treated this theme in a classical manner. Usually man controls a fiery stallion of even a leopard. Appropriately he chose the Afrikaner bull to symbolize the people of South Africa. With photographic accuracy he depicts the huge hump, the coffin shaped head, the ridges over the eyes and the oval shaped horns – symbolic of the vitality of young nations on the threshold of maturity. The youth of South Africa is seen as a powerful young man in the prime of this life. We are reminded that the actions of every generation are mainly aimed in service of the next generation. They will soon inherit the responsibility now resting on the shoulders of the elders and they will have to take over the reins from their predecessors.

Source: Kunswerke van die Transvaalse Provinsiale Administrasie