"Voortrekker Monument, intended to symbolize the fundamental values and unshakable resolve of the Boer founding fathers"
Voortrekker Monument
Public DomainVoortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument dominates the skyline just outside Pretoria.  It was built to honour the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. The architect, Gerard Moerdijk, aimed to design a "monument that would stand a thousand years to describe the history and the meaning of the Great Trek to its descendants."

The cornerstone was laid on 16 December 1938 by three descendants of the Voortrekker leaders Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter and Piet Retief (prior to 1994, 16 December was commemorated by Afrikaners as the Day of the Vow, when they remembered their victory over the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River). 



Wagon mural, Voortrekker Monument
Creative Commons AttributionWagon mural, Voortrekker Monument - Credit: Bruce Damer

The monument is 40 metres high, with a base of 40 metres by 40 metres. After passing through the gate one finds oneself inside a big laager consisting of 64 ox-wagons made of decorative granite (the number of wagons in the Battle of Blood River laager).  At the foot of the Monument stands a bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children. On each outside corner is a statue, representing Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter and a fourth leader representative of all the other Voortrekker leaders. Each statue weighs approximately 6 tons.