South Africa Site Views

South Africa's national monuments and memorials can be found across the country. Commemorating our past and those who shaped it, they range from the imposing to the quirky. Among these monuments and memorials are everything from the grand Union Buildings to the eccentric Owl House, and even a post office tree.There are many national monuments and memorials commemorating those people and events that shaped the country. Some of these, such as Robben Island, are World Heritage Sites; others point to the quirkier side of our national character.

Among the many national memorials are the Huguenot Memorial Museum in Franschhoek, dedicated to the French religious refugees who settled at the Cape in the late 17th century; the magnificent Union Buildings in Pretoria; and the Samora Machel Monument at Komatipoort where the then-Mozambican president's plane crashed. Then there is the Owl House at Nieu Bethesda in the Eastern Cape. One of the best examples of Outsider Art in the world, it was created by the eccentric Helen Martins during the last 30 years of her life. In that time she completely transformed her typical Karoo cottage into a haunting world of glass and mirrors.

As poignant is the National Women's Monument in Bloemfontein. This honours the thousands of women and children who succumbed in the concentration camps during the South African War.Provincial monuments and memorials celebrate everything from battles and the arrival of the British settlers in 1820 to hyena traps and temples. In Port Elizabeth there is the only monument in the world to Prester John, the mythical priest thought to be the key to vast African wealth and the inspiration for 15th century Portuguese exploration.In Mossel Bay is the first post office in South Africa – a tree.

In 1500 a Portuguese captain left a letter in an iron pot under a milkwood, which was found and delivered by a Dutch naval commander the following year. The tree is now a national monument known as the Post Office Tree.So wherever you are in South Africa there is a monument or memorial that tells a part of our fascinating story.

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. Built between 1666 and 1679, this pentagonal fortification was built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck upon establishing a maritime replenishment station at the Cape.The Castle of Good Hope has been the centre of life at the Cape since its inception in January 1666. It has survived many challenges in its time and was constantly under threat of being demolished for personal and materialistic gain. Sentiment in the early days whereby the then Imperial Government offered the Castle for sale for a mere £83,  would seem to be nothing new and thanks to the military authorities they evoked a strong public reaction in favour of retaining the Castle of Good Hope.

The gateway - built in 1682 - replaced the old entrance, which faced the sea. The pediment bears the coat of arms of the United Netherlands, portraying the crowned lion rampant holding the seven arrows of unity in its paw. Carved on the architrave below are the arms of Van Hoorn, Delft , Amsterdam, Middelburg, Rotterdam and Enkhuizen - all Dutch cities in which the United East India Company had chambers. Two VOC (Vereenighde Oost-Indische Compagnie) monograms flank the carvings.
The two pilasters, entablature and pediment above are built of grey-blue stone, while the entrance is made of small yellow bricks called ijselstene, making it a unique example of 17th century Dutch classicism at the Cape .Sections of the moat, which previously formed part of the defence system of the Castle, were rebuilt in 1992 during restorations.Guided Tours are conducted from Monday to Saturday at 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00.The Key Ceremony is performed Weekdays at 10:00 and 12:00, followed by the firing of the Signal Cannon.

The Freedom Park

Driven by the necessity for the diverse people of South Africa and the world to understand and appreciate the country’s struggle for liberation, The Freedom Park was born as a national and international icon of humanity and freedom.The Freedom Park, with its Garden of Remembrance, is located on a 52-hectare site on Salvokop Hill at the entrance into Tshwane (Pretoria) from Johannesburg. The uphill climbs and winding roads serve a very symbolic purpose at The Freedom Park: it stands as a testimony to the arduous road that South Africans had to travel to reach their destination of humanity and freedom. Golf carts are available for the disabled and elderly.

The Park is being constructed in phases and are currently busy with //hapo, an interactive space that will tell the story of the Southern African region dating back 3.6 billion years. //hapo will also house the official welcoming and reception area.The Wall of Names currently bears 75,000 names of those who died fighting for humanity and freedom in South Africa. The wall has space for 136,000 names to be inscribed. The Wall of Names is not constructed as a fait accompli and allows future generations to add the names of their deserving heroes and heroines.



More than three centuries ago about 200 French Huguenots, having escaped religious persecution, settled in the Berg River Valley and founded the community of Franschhoek. With its fine balmy summers and the majority of its rainfall in winter, the French Huguenots recognised the potential of the region for wine production and fruit growing.

Wine and Other Routes
The French established vast wine estates throughout the valley. Today you will not only find many of these estates but also numerous small family vineyards. Sixteen of these vineyards form part of the Vignerons de Franschhoek which was formed to promote the valley and its wines. The wine route is open for tastings and cellar tours and is within half an hour's drive from Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and Somerset West wine routes. Franschhoek also forms part of the scenic Four Passes Fruit Route.

Attractions and Other Places of Interest
At the foot of the pass you will find the Huguenot Memorial and Museum which commemorates the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Huguenots. The museum serves as an information and research centre on the Huguenots and their descendants. The Jan Joubert's gat bridge is one of the oldest bridges in South Africa still in use and is in the Franschoek pass. The Dutch Reformed Church is a National Monument and is open to the public on request.


Bloemfontein, the Capital City of the Free State Province in South Africa, is centrally situated in the Transgariep Area roughly in the middle of the Province, as well as in the country. The "City of Roses", as it had become known locally, is placed with more pivotal importance than any other city in the country. It is the Judicial Capital, the sixth largest city in South Africa and lies on the main road, rail and air links between north and south, east and west.Bloemfontein is part of the Mangaung Local Municipality - “place where the Cheetahs dwell”. This municipality was formed at the end of 2000 by amalgamating the Transitional Local Councils of Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and two Rural Councils.


Afrikaans Language Monument

This unique language originated from the Dutch spoken by the first settlers. It was later evolved by people such as the Khoikoi and the slaves from other countries. The Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument celebrates this unique language.Afrikaans "just grew' from the soil of South Africa. In the human melting pot of the Cape it was inevitable that, from the original Dutch spoken by the first settlers, a colloquial form would be evolved by people such as the Khoikhoi and slaves from Malaya, Indonesia, Madagascar and West Africa.

These diverse peoples all needed to communicate and a modified version of Dutch, with many words from the other languages, was used as a language common to all. It developed further as Huguenot settlers added words and altered the sound of other words.The Monument's design has specific meanings: Three linked columns symbolise the contribution of the Western world to Afrikaans, three rounded shapes represent the contribution of Africa, and a wall for the contribution of the Malaysian people.A fountain symbolizes new ideas and a pillar soaring 57 meters above the fountain represents the growth of the language. The pillar is hollow, and light from above pours down it, illuminating the fountain. A second pillar represents the political development of South Africa and its close associations with the growth of Afrikaans.The museum is located in the Gideon Malherbe House in the centre of Paarl.

Dick King Statue

On the busy Victoria Embankment is a statue commemorating Dick King (Richard Philip King), who brought reinforcements to Durban during the 1842 siege.Richard Phillip "Dick" King, was born in 1813 in Chatham, England, and his family emigrated to the Albany District of the Cape Colony in 1820 as part of a settler program. In 1828 when Dick was fifteen years old, the Kings again relocated, this time to Port Natal. His first employment was as a wagon driver and he went on to become a trader himself at the colony of Port Natal.Years later in 1842, the English annexed Port Natal, The Boers however, had already settle in the area, and had established the Boer Republic of Natalia, and were intent on expelling all British from the region. The tension between these two opposing forces eventually led to the Battle of Congella where the English suffered massive casualties, and the loss of their artillery.

Dick King heard of the siege at Port Natal, and by daybreak the next day was met by his sixteen year old servant Ndongeni who was waiting for him, ready with two fresh horses. From Port Natal, King and Ndongeni embarked on their 960 km epic horse ride to Grahamstown, where they were to request military reinforcement for the English.
After the first 200 miles of the journey, Ndongeni was forced to turn back as riding conditions were made difficult due to the fact that he had no saddle or bridle. Over a course of ten days he covered an average distance of 75 miles a day and crossed 120 rivers between Port Natal (Durban) and Grahamstown only stopping occasionally at mission stations along the route for rest.An equestrian monument to Dick King and his horse Somerset, was erected on the corner of Gardiner street and Durban's Victoria embankment in 1915, and stands alongside such famous Durban memorials as the John Ross Statue and the Da Gama Clock.

Honoured Dead Memorial


The Honoured Dead Memorial is a provincial heritage site in Kimberley in the Northern Cape province. It is situated at the highest point in Kimberly, at the meeting point of five roads, and commemorates those who died defending the city during the Siege of Kimberley in the Anglo-Boer War.Cecil John Rhodes commissioned Sir Herbert Baker to design a memorial which commemorates those who fell during the Kimberley Siege.

Rhodes sent Baker to Greece to study ancient memorials - the Nereid monument at Xanthus greatly influenced his design.The monument is built of sandstone quarried in the Matopo Hills in Zimbabwe and is the tomb of 27 soldiers.The Long Cecil gun that was designed and manufactured by George Labram in the workshops of De Beers during the siege is mounted on its stylobate (facing the Free State). It is surrounded by shells from the Boer Long Tom. The memorial was dedicated on 28 November 1904.

National Monument at the Blood River

In the Battle at the Ncome or Blood River about 3000 Zulu warriors died. The Voortrekkers, however, had - except for three lightly injured men - no losses.The national monument at the Blood River reminds of the historical battle of the Voortrekkers against the Zulus in the year 1838.

The Voortrekkers (Boers) driven by the British from the Cape - had previously signed a contract with Zulu King Dingaan, granting them land to settle. Immediately afterwards, however, the King had the delegation under the leadership of Piet Retief killed in his kraal uMgungundhlovu.Further desastrous massacres followed. At the attack of Bloukrans in February 1838, for example, almost 500 Voortrekkers died, among them many women and children.The colossal monument - from bronze-covered iron - in the still plains of the Ncome valley is a very impressive, almost spooky monument. It makes the visitors relive the events of 1838 in their fantacy.On the other side of the river another monument was inaugurated in 1999 for the remembrance of the Zulus who died in the battle. This also very impressive monument throws a light on the battle from a Zulu perspective.


Paul Kruger Statue

The statue of Paul Kruger located at Church Square, in Pretoria (Now called Tshwane) is probably one of the most famous landmarks in South Africa.

The statue of Paul Kruger located at Church Square, in Pretoria is probably one of the most famous landmarks in South Africa. Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger aka Paul Kruger was the President of The South African Republic from 1880-1900.Paul Kruger (1825-1904) was known as the ‘father of the Afrikaner nation’. His firm belief in the destiny of the Afrikaner and his strong faith and obedience to God characterised his life. In 1883 he was elected president of the Transvaal Republic, but had to flee the country during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).

If statues and monuments are your forte then this statue is a must see. The bronze statue of Paul Kruger occupies the centre stage in Church Square. Statues of four anonymous Boer citizen-soldiers surround that of Kruger's on a lower level of the plinth.


Rhodes Memorial

Today Rhodes Memorial is a national landmark, providing a magnificent view of industrial Cape Town out over the airport and the Cape Flats to the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains.The magnificent floodlit memorial to Cecil John Rhodes, stands on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, on the Northern flank of Table Mountain. It was built in 1912 on the very place where Rhodes used to sit and contemplate his future. It was a short ride on horseback from his town home  Groote Schuur  (from which the famous hospital takes it’s name)  which is now separated by the M3 Rhodes Drive motorway.Incorporating Doric columns, the classical architecture so revered by Cecil John Rhodes, the eight lions, were cast “in situ” by J.W Swan, modeled upon those protecting Nelson column in Trafalgar Square, London, and are a Tribute to Rhodes’ wish to have real lions roaming his ‘African Wildlife Garden’ for all the citizens to enjoy. Swan also sculpted the bust of Rhodes, (whom he had never met), from photographs, but sadly nearly finished, his untimely death prevented it’s completion by his own hand.

The Memorial was dedicated at a public ceremony in 1912 by Sir Earl Grey, British Colonial Secretary, who made a special trip to South Africa for the occasion, and the unveiling was performed by the then Mayor of Cape Town, Sir Frank Smith.
Today Rhodes Memorial is a national landmark, providing a magnificent view of industrial Cape Town out over the airport and the Cape Flats to the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains

Winburg acted as a settlement and religious centre for Voortrekkers and was originally selected as the site for the main Voortrekker Monument.Instead Pretoria won favour and a five-tiered secondary Voortrekker monument was built on the outskirts of Winburg in the 1950s. It carries the names of the Voortrekker leaders: Piet Uys, Andries Hendrik Potgieter, Andries Pretorius, Piet Retief and Gerhard Maritz.
On 16 December, the day on which the descendants of the Boer settlers celebrate the Battle of Blood River, the sun passes directly over the monument and a plaque with a Christian religious message at the base is illuminated. The monument is built near the site of the birth-house of Martinus Theunis Steyn, who was president of the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State.


Union Buildings

Like an ancient temple adorning over the city it governs, the Union Buldings are a modern day acropolis, built at the highest point of South Africa's capital city, Pretoria, it forms the official seat of South Africa's government and houses The Presidency as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs.Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908, building began in 1909 and was completed in 1913. It took approximately 1265 artisans, workmen and labourers almost three years to construct, using 14 million bricks for the interior office walls, half a million cubic feet of freestone, 74 000 cubic yards of concrete, 40 000 bags of cement and 20 000 cubic feet of granite.The design of the buildings was largely determined by the nature of the site. Baker envisaged identical wings of rectangular office blocks, each representing one of the two official languages.They were to be linked by a semicircular wing, and the space in-between the two wings was levelled to form an amphitheatre as in the Greek fashion for gatherings of national and ceremonial importance.

Baker wanted the buildings to be built of imported granite, but any idea of using anything but South African stone for the most important government building of the new state was unthinkable to those who commissioned it, as a result, the terraces and retaining walls in the grounds are built predominantly of mountain stone quarried on site, the foundation of the building is of granite, while freestone was used for the exterior walls, the amphitheatre and major courtyards.