Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day of Reconciliaton!

The 16th December is the traditional commemoration date for the Battle of Blood River and it was first celebrated in 1838. The Voortrekkers made a vow with God that should that be victorious over the Zulu’s they would celebrate this day as the Sabbath. This battle was known as the Battle of Blood River and was considered a major victory for the Voortrekkers.

The Voortrekkers, lead by Andries Pretorius, defeated approximately 10 000 Zulu warriors on the bank s of the Ncome River which is in Kwa Zulu, Natal. There were 3000 Zulu casualties and only 3 wounded Voortrekkers.

Today, this holiday has been changed to the Day of Reconciliation – a way to celebrate the building of a new multi-racial society.

P took this of us looking up while they were on their way down!

Philip and Ashleigh climbed to the top and took this from the top down.

Looking from the bottom up to the opening in the dome where the sun shines through at midday

The window inside the Hall of Heroes

A Voortrekker women with her son - taken outside the front of the monument

Although neither Philip nor I are descended from the Voortrekkers, we have always found the history of this country interesting and we decided yesterday to visit the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria – to see what it is all about and how the Afrikaners still celebrate this day. The monument is situated in Pretoria and commemorates the pioneer history of our country. It is built of granite and it beautifully looked after. The gardens are immaculate.

We had an interesting day. We found the people more fascinating than anything and decided to go back on a quieter day so that we could have a better look around. There were HUNDREDS of people there! Philip and Ashleigh climbed the stairs to the top but there were just too many people for me! We were hoping to see the Cenotaph which is viewable from the Hall of Heroes. There is a large dome and at midday on the 16th December each year, the sun shines directly onto the middle of the cenotaph onto the words “Ons vir jou Suid Afrika” (We for thee, South Africa!).


Judith said...

WOW how interesting - from experience 'Yes' it's best to go on a quieter day gives you more chance to soak in the atsmophere and reflect yourself on the history. Very interesting post.

Janet said...

It was really interesting. We saw some real extremists wearing the old South African flag as t-shirts - quite something to see! But very peaceful, a lot of praying and singing by small groups sitting under the trees!

Firefly said...

We got to visit the monument earlier in the year for the first time since I was in primary school. PE is a bit too far to just pop in for a visit. It is great that the Afrikaner and specially the Voortrekker decendents are able to go to the monument to remember the day.

Jeanette said...

Very interesting, I've actually never been there before.