The Voortrekkers: the Afrikaner pioneers in southern Africa during the 1830s and 40s. Fleeing British control of the greater Cape Colony, a number of Boers (Afrikaans for ‘farmers’) set out on what is now called the Great Trek – in short, they migrated away from British strongholds into the central continent.
The Afrikaners’ Great Trek predated the Anglo-Boer War, but exemplifies the underlying conflict. The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria commemorates the events of this movement as well as the hardships endured by the Boers and their story of resilience.
The cavernous monument looms above most of the surrounding area (and to think I had expected a simple statue), but despite its airy interior – an area called the Hall of Heroes – and top-deck lookout spots, the Voortrekker museum in fact occupies two levels below ground. The subterranean crypt would have been more interesting if it were not so eerie…
Trivia: the city of Pretoria is named after Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius