EXPERIENCE THE

VOORTREKKER MONUMENT

VOORTREKKER MONUMENT

THE VOORTREKKER MONUMENT

The Voortrekker Monument is a beacon of hope for Afrikaners. The large, grey granite colossus is visible from all directions as Pretoria is approached. This massive monument was built in honour of the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854 in their thousands. The architect was Gerard Moerdijk, and it was his ideal to design a monument that should stand as a “memorial for a thousand years and longer to explain to our posterity the history and significance of the Great Trek.”

The Woman and Child statue in front of the monument symbolises the participation and role that women and children played during the Great Trek. This image was designed by the well-known sculptor Anton van Wouw. Furthermore, the monument is surrounded by a wall on which ox wagons are engraved. These ox wagons represent the laager at Blood River. The lower wall consists of 64 wagons, and each wagon is 4.6 meters long and 2.7 meters high. The lower wall represents the symbolic protection of the monument.

Apart from the massive size of the monument, two elements, in particular, make this monument interesting: the historic frieze and the cenotaph. Inside the monument, there is also a museum that tells the story of the Afrikaner.

To read more about the history of the Voortrekker Monument with all its historical attractions, , click here.

TAPESTRIES

In May 1952, Mrs Nellie Kruger thought of making a series of historical tapestries for the Voortrekker Monument that emphasised the woman’s role in the history of the Great Trek (1835-1854). The Women and Mother Movement of the ATKV accepted the proposal at their annual meeting.

W.H. Coetzer painted the panels on double-woven tapestry gauze, and historian, dr. G.D. Scholtz, advised him on the historical correctness of the depictions.

They used 130 different colours of wool, and the range consists of 3 353 600 sewing stitches. Nine women completed the panels within eight years.

LAAS WAGON

An original ox wagon, preserved from the Great Trek, now stands in the Cenotaph Hall of the Voortrekker Monument. This wagon is the second oldest ox wagon in the country and the oldest in the Transvaal. This wagon belonged to Andries Marthinus Laas and his wife, Sara. The wagon survived the entire Great Trek and was also one of the 64 wagons at Blood River. After the Great Trek, the wagon was cared for at Amersfoort Primary School for 83 years. The FAK, in collaboration with the Laas family and Barend Uys, facilitated a process to place this precious wagon in the care of the Voortrekker Monument.

COMMUNION WAGON

Mr S.P. (Fanie) Botha farmed with his father on the farm Rietspruit and had this wagon made with a view to the Symbolic Ox Trek of 1938. The wagon participated in the 1938 Centenary Celebrations in Heidelberg and was later used mainly during Vow Festivals.

During the late 1960s, the wagon was donated to the Normal College Pretoria (NKP), where it stood in the entrance portal of the college. After the relocation of the college, the wagon, after many wanderings, was donated to the Voortrekker Monument. In 2003, Erik Holm restored the wagon and Elsabé Holm done the traditional painting.

The Voortrekker Monument has a collection of historic ox wagons on display on site.

FORT SCHANSKOP

After the Jameson invasion in 1896, Pres. Paul Kruger of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) decides to defend Pretoria by having forts built in strategic places. Initially, eight forts were to be built, but due to a shortage of funds, only four were completed. Three of the four, including Schanskop, were designed by Germans.

Read more about Fort Schanskop and the Anglo-Boer War in the history section.

The Anglo-Boer War Museum can also be visited at Fort Schanskop.

Remember to include a photo of the Danie Theron statue or the gen. Piet Joubert to take bust. The replica of the Tanganyika monument can also be seen here.

DANIE THERON STATUE

The statue looks in the direction of Gatsrand between Potchefstroom and Johannesburg, where Danie Theron died on 5 September 1900. Theron was buried at the place where he died but was later reburied next to his fiancée Hannie Neethling south of Johannesburg.

GEN. PIET JOUBERT BUST

Since 13 December 1880, Commandant-General Piet Joubert has overseen the defense of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR). He will be remembered for his participation in the Battle of Majuba on 27 February 1881 during the First War of Independence (1880-1881). He will also be remembered for his role as chairman of the ZAR’s Fortress Commission, which had to oversee the construction of four forts around Pretoria, namely Fort Schanskop, Fort Klapperkop, Fort Wonderboompoort and Fort Daspoortrand. 

REPLICA OF TANGANJIKA MONUMENT

This is a scale model replica of the Trek Monument unveiled on 16 December 1954 in Tanzania (formerly known as Tanganyika). The Trek Monument (1904-1954) is erected to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first Afrikaners who settled in the former Tanganyika after the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). 

1938 STONE CAIRN

During the laying of the cornerstone of the Voortrekker Monument in 1938, thousands of stones were brought to this site by festivalgoers from all over the country. The stone stacking lasted from 13 to 16 December 1938. Festivalgoers also used stones from this Heritage site.

The secretary of the Central Monuments Committee stated that the stone cairn would serve as proof in the distant future that the Afrikaners of 1938 valued the spiritual and material heritage left to them in 1838 and that they undertook to leave the heritage undamaged for the Afrikaners of 2038. The stone cairn was to serve as a symbol of the fiery longing for national unity.

The main purpose of the stonewalling was to build a model of the Vow Church (Pietermaritzburg) on this particular site. The stonewalling, therefore, took place on a cement floor with a ring wall around it, which opened on 22 November 1938. They bricked up the stone cairn, but the plan to build a model of the Vow Church never materialised.

PIET RETIEF MEMORIAL

Architectural firm: Meiring, Naudé, Lötter and Botha
Completed:  14 April 1971

This granite memorial needle represents the needle erected at Umgungundlovu (KwaZulu-Natal) in 1922 to mark the place where Piet Retief and 70 of his companions were killed on 6 February 1838 by order of the Zulu king, Dingane.

The Trekkers were overrun in the royal kraal, Umgungundlovu, after which they were dragged to the hill called KwaMathiwane. Their remains were only found on 21 December 1838 by Andries Pretorius and his commando and buried there.

SCHOOL ON WHEELS

Classroom built for a train track

The School on Wheels was founded in 1923 by Mr W.A. Joubert. It was at the request of Mr J.H. Coetzee, the school board secretary of Ermelo. The classroom on wheels had to serve as a solution to the constant shortage of classroom accommodation. By the end of each school year, st. 6 pupils of the surrounding schools came to Ermelo to write final exams, and they used this classroom for that. The School on Wheels has seating for 22 school children, as well as a desk and chair for a teacher.

The chassis is that of an old steam threshing machine. A team of 16 oxen pulled the school. Due to the narrow track, helpers always had to walk with the school to help balance it using ropes.

In the early 1960s, the school was moved to the Transvaal Education Museum in Pretoria, where it stood for years in Skinner Street behind the Media Center. On 7 November 2004, the School on Wheels was transferred to the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site, after which it was restored.

Come and have a coffee at our School on Wheels Coffee House in the past.

SADF WALL

Memorial Wall for SADF members

Background

The Board of the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site approved in 2009 that a SADF Wall of Remembrance could be erected on the VTM Heritage Site in honour of members of the SA Army who died on duty.

The Wall was inaugurated on 25 October 2009, and more than 1000 people attended the event. Nearly 100 wreaths and crosses were laid/planted during the inauguration ceremony.

So far, there have been 2489 names on the Wall of Remembrance. A further 27 names were recently added from SADF members who died under qualifying circumstances during 1961-1994.

Since the inauguration of the Wall, the VTM has been inundated with compliments about the appearance of the Wall of Remembrance and what accompanies it, as well as the course of the inauguration ceremony.

The fact that the Wall is so visible and accessible to all visitors to the VTM Heritage Site, and is in a secure area, has advantages that make it stand out above any other similar Wall in South Africa. It is therefore not surprising that more and more military units and organisations are increasingly choosing it as the site for their memorial services.

MEMORIAL GARDEN

Are you looking for a special eternal resting place for yourself and your loved ones? The niche garden at the Voortrekker Monument then offers the perfect location. There are several packages available.

The next of kin of the people who have a niche in the memorial garden receive free access to the site.

Direct any inquiries to roelien@kultuurtuiste.org.za

ZULU HUT

Imagine Dingane’s city

This medium-sized Zulu hut is a replica of the huts erected during the reconstruction of part of the royal capital Umgungundlovu in the 1980s. King Dingane had the city built during his reign (1828-1840). This hut is typical of the dwellings found in what was then Zululand and was traditionally built by men.

The characteristic of the traditional indlu (hut) is the beehive style in which it is built. The framework consists of young trees planted in a circle in the ground, bent inwards and fastened to each other. After completion of the framework, the hut was covered with mulch. The hut floor was made of a mixture of anthill clay and cow dung, after which it was smeared with beef fat.

Builders from KwaZulu-Natal

Lathing:  John Mbatha & Zeph Sibiya

Covering and flooring: Francisca Msimango & Ntombi Ngema

NATURE RESERVE

Mr Danie Hough, the then administrator of the Transvaal, announced on 14 July 1992 that 341 hectares around the monument had been proclaimed a unique nature reserve. On Friday, 25 June 1993, the first game, namely zebras and blesbok, was released into the nature reserve.

The Voortrekker Monument has unique wildlife on the site. It provides great excitement for visitors to identify the wildlife. Have you ever wondered about the wildlife at the Voortrekker Monument? Here is an overview of our current game:

INFORMATION, RULES AND REGULATIONS

INFORMATION, RULES AND REGULATIONS

  • Upon arrival, visitors must report to reception.
  • At no stage may any disturbance be caused to others.
  • Please be on the lookout for cyclists, hikers and runners.
  • Visitors may not trade in the reserve unless prior permission has been obtained.
  • Obey all traffic signs; remember that all pedestrians and animals have priority.
  • Only persons holding a legal driving license may drive in the reserve.
  • No animal, plant or bird may be fed, disturbed or removed.
  • Remember that uncontrolled fires cause destruction and death. Therefore, do not start a fire by negligence in handling, e.g. braai fires or cigarettes.
  • No pets are allowed on site, but guide dogs are welcome.
  • Littering is strictly forbidden.

Should any farmers be interested in donating game to the monument, they are more than welcome to contact the monument.