Things To Do in GroenkloofVisit the Voortekker Monument
Where? Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site, Eeufees Road, Groenkloof, Pretoria, Gauteng
When? Monday to Sunday from 08h00 to 17h00.
How? Call +27 (0)21 326-6770
How much? Falls into price group R1 to R100 per person. Confirm with the provider.
The impressive Voortrekker Monument is monumental in size and monumental in meaning. One of South Africa's top ten cultural sites of history; this is the most visited venue of its nature in Gauteng. Seated on a nature reserve, mother nature is celebrated while the Voortrekker pioneers are commemorated.
A foundation of over 18 000 tons of concrete holds this monument paying tribute to the Afrikaaner culture that founded the resistance movement from the British Cape Colony; migrating by the thousands on ox-wagon away from this Colonial rule between 1835 and 1854. A view of the monument forming the pinnacle of a slope can be seen from almost anywhere in the city and in turn has a 360º view over the Tshwane region.
The architect of this 40 metre high monument with a square standing base of 40.5 metres by 40.5 metres was Gerald Moerdijk. His vision was to design a 'monument that would stand a thousand years to describe the history and the meaning of the Great Trek to its descendants'. Zulu Chief Dingane's 'assegaai' (spear) is welded into the black wrought iron entrance gate as a symbolic motif to the mighty tribal man who blocked inland access to the new founded fatherland. Inside the gate a protective circle of wagons, named a laager, encompass the monument in a circular granite decoration of 64 wagons representing the 64 ox-wagon used in the historic Battle of the Blood River.
Within this laager protecting the monument and the South African Afrikaaner heritage, stands a bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children moulded by Anton van Wouw. This family image portrays the role of woman, wife and mother in the Afrikaaner flee and settlement. As a Westerner she stands triumphant over Africa's challenges represented by black Wildebeest in stone carvings that flank her presence.
On the same level as the entrance in the corner facing the rising African sun lays the Foundation Stone set aground here on Monument Hill by three direct descendants of Voortrekker leaders in 1938. An amphitheatre built to hold 20 000 people stands in the North East corner of this monument that gets enough annual visitors to fill the amphitheatre capacity 10 times over. This great grey colossus has a lower hall measuring 34.5 meters by 34.5 meters, namely the Cenotaph (empty tomb) Hall which is decorated with all the Voortrekker Republic Flags. Made of local red granite this is the resting place of Voortrekker leader Piet Retief and his followers who died during the Great Trek.
Artefacts adorn this building that was built for the sun to shine directly through a roof dome on the 16th of December lighting up the words 'Ons vir jou Suid Afrika' (we for thee South Africa). Inside the monument great teak doors open onto a high domed Hall of Heroes 25 meters by 25 metres by 41 metres. Here a classical entablature measures a frieze of 92 metres in length and 2.3 metres in height. Great Trek triumphs and tribulations are crafted into 27 panels of Italian marble depicting impressive historic scenes.
Four arched windows revere the walls in yellow Belgium glass casting stained light on to the marbled floor that's pattern flooded with history represents the ripple effect of mass Voortrekker movement on South African History. In a recess a lantern hangs kept aflame with Afrikaans culture since 1838, the start of the Great Trek. Fifteen scenes of the Great Trek are displayed in a tapestry of 3 300 000 stitches. Original memorabilia enrich the basement Museum rekindling authentic everyday Voortrekker life. This mammoth building is a 67 250m³ monument to South African history housed on a hillside overlooking a new South Africa.