The Voortrekker Monument is a 40 cubic meter building commemorating the Voortrekkers of old who trekked over the Drakensberg mountain range from the Cape to ultimately settle in this part of the country.
Unfortunately this part of Afrikaner heritage seems to be neglected and even surpressed as a pride in Afrikaner heritage can often be misconstrued as being "old regime" but I strongly disagree with that notion.
I am an Afrikaner and very proud of it. At the same time I am anything but a racist and I deeply believe in the restoration of South Africa through racial tollerance and uniting of peoples. The Afrikaner history is quite an interesting one and very remarkable. I am proud to have that heritage and the Voortrekker Monument symbolises that for me.
The Voortrekker Monument was built as a national shrine to commemorate the heroes of the Great Trek of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The four walls of the Hall of Heroes, which is the main body of the building, are decorated with an Italian frieze depicting the history of the Great Trek in 1838, when Afrikaaners left Cape Town for the hinterland. One of the most interesting features of the monument is the 260-step stairway which leads to the dome, and the spectacular view it offers of the city.
Build in honour of the Voortrekkers and Zulus who died at the battle of bloodriver. On the 16 December every year a sunbeam shines exactley on Piet Retief's grave who was killed by Dingaan's warriors the 16th December.
History of the Afrikaaners, very old and beautiful. The Voortrekkers played an important part in Pretoria's past. The Building is constructed in such a way that just on that day at 12 noon a ray of sunlight falls onto the Shrine of Honour in the Heroes’ Hall. It bears the inscription: 'Ons vir jou, Zuid Afrika!' (We for you, South Africa!). Great view over Pretoria from there.
Voortrekkersmonument - cenotaph
The word cenotaph means 'empty tomb'. It is therefore the symbolic resting place of Piet Retief and all the other Voortrekkers who died during the Great Trek. The Cenotaph is made from red granite from the Parys region in the Free State.
Once a year, on 16 December, the sun shines through an opening in the dome roof of the Monument onto the middle of the Cenotaph. It shines on the words 'Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika', literally translated: 'We for thee South Africa.' The architect, Gerard Moerdijk, planned this specifically because the ray of sunlight symbolizes God's blessing on the life and work of the Voortrekkers.
The Cenotaph Hall consists of a 34,5 x 34,5 metre area and is decorated with the flags of the different Voortrekker Republics. The hall is visited more often these days as the famous wall tapestries depicting the Voortrekkers can be seen there, as well as several display cases with artefacts from the Great Trek.
Against the Northern wall is a nave with a lantern where a flame has been kept burning since 1938. The Symbolic Ox Wagon Trek took place in 1938. It started in Cape Town and ended at Monument Hill where the foundation stone was laid for the erection of the Monument. (text from website)
You can climb to a high point in the tower and look right down onto the cenotaph far below which is quite scary but intriguing too.
Huge monument on an hill, part of the history of this wonderfull country.
Pretorius one of the voortrekker.
On a hill overlooking the city is this monument and museum celebrating the great trek (voortrek) of Afrikaaners from the Cape area to the Transvaal after the English occupation.
When on top of the Voortrekker Monument you have quite a view over Pretoria with UNISA (?University of South Africa) clearly visible and the Union Buildings in the distance.