Of Zulus and Voortrekkers
Yesterday #wherewereyou was trending on twitter, now and then. The context being, where where you? when the ghastly 9/11 happened. I recollected being in the hostel atrium when news of the attacks first poured in. My memory fails me but there was a temporary blackout in the hostel with word that it was an intentional security measure. What i recollect quite vividly, however, was a freshman performing a Zulu dance for the amusement of the sophomores, circa Sept 2001. Let us leave out the details as to who the skilled dancer was. Back then, my knowledge of Zulu was limited to one phrase Jhinga La La Hoo and that the South African bowler Lance Klusener was nicknamed Zulu. Besides, I had heard of Zulus being a tribe somewhere in Africa.Fast forward to Sept 11, 2010 – And I got to know more about the Zulus. In fact, not just them but the Boers, the Voortrekkers and other pioneers in South African history. The Voortrekker Monument is one of the distinct landmarks in the Pretoria Skyline. Being located on a hilltop, it is sighted from afar while cruising on N1 and from many other locations. In fact, from my 16th floor office, I had often wondered as to what this tomb like structure was about. I did find the answers. Read on.
Now, that is commendable!
The monument was built between 1938 and 1949. You see, World War II caused delay in completion. The overall architecture is quite grand and impressive. On the outside, on each of the four corners of the monument, stand tall the legendary Voortrekkers – Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius and two others. Inside the monument, on one level, is the bas-relief depicting the historical events. On another, is the cenotaph proclaiming “We for you South Africa”. Also, there is a two-level museum with adequate dosage of history to leave one confused.
Where/What Else? – The entry fee is R45/person. It’ll take only a short drive from anywhere in Pretoria to reach the Voortrekker Monument. It offers breathtaking views of the Pretoria Skyline. There is a small curio shop from where you can get your very own miniature model of the monument. Do not hesitate to bargain.
Besides, the surrounding velds offer ample opportunities to cycle, hike, camp, horse-ride and have a fun day out.