Fight for Freedom
The Voortrekker Monument is one of the most fascinating and imposing monuments in the world. A visit to this monument allows for an understanding of some of the history of this country and provides an insight into the motivations and reasons for the attitudes amongst many whites in this country. Visitors are provided with a background to events which led to the decision to build the monument.
We outline the political structures in place at that time, the role of the Broederbond and the re-creation of the Great trek in 1938 and the reasons for it. We discuss the physical and symbolic aspects of the Monument in detail to understand itís importance to the Afrikaner people and how to many it still represents a symbol of apartheid.
Robin telling the story of the Voortrekker Monument.
Inside the Monument the detail is explained and the importance of December 16th highlighted and illustrated. The various treks from Trichard to Retief are recounted in story form. The 27 panels (made out of Italian Marble and the largest of itís kind in the world) representing the story of the Voortrekkers are shown with explanations given, with the focus on the killing of Retief and his men by Zulu King Dingaan. The personalities of the two men are examined and the killing of Retief and the reasons for his death explained from a traditional white history perspective as well as the more recent Zulu perspective. Visitors are left to decide whether the event was murder or execution?
The massacre at Weenen, the death of trekker leader Uys and the role of Pretorious are explained and the role of the women highlighted. The taking of the Vow is dealt with and the subsequent battle at Blood River described in vivid detail, leaving the visitor with the feeling that they had actually been there! The final exodus of the trekkers from Natal to escape the British is explained and the signing of the Sand River Convention explained.
The museum with the "Flame of Civilisation" is visited and the wonderful tapestry telling the story of the Trek shown. Finally, visitors travel to the top of the monument where a beautiful view of Pretoria and surrounds can be enjoyed.
This is not a conventional tourist destination!
Vlakplaas was the home of the "Death Squads" during the 80ís & 90ís. Special permission has been obtained to take visitors to Vlakplaas. It is believed that more than 1000 people met their deaths as a result of the operations of the operatives and Askaris from Vlakplaas. The visitor is told the stories of torture and assassination, as a small group of men who believed that they were supported by the politicians and Generals, carried out acts of murder and assassination in the belief that they were defending the country from Communism.
We examine and explain the roles of Dirk Coetzee, Eugene de Kock, the commanders of Vlakplaas, as well as others. Some of the killings are explained in detail. The Harmse Commission and the attempts to murder Dirk Coetzee are described. The rooms and areas where certain events took place are visited and shown. The Braai area and the recreational area of the farm are visited.
The three phases of the life of the "Badger unit" are outlined. The role of "turning" ANC operatives into Askaris, the role of "fighting organised crime in Hillbrow" and the role in crime and gun-running are examined. The Third Force activities culminating in the arrest of Eugene de Kock in 1994 and his subsequent sentencing to 212 years plus two life sentences in prison are also examined.
The Government's role in the activities at Vlakplaas, and the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are discussed. Extracts from the testimony provided by Eugene de Kock and Dirk Coetzee are presented. The link between the attitudes of the operatives at Vlakplaas with the 16th December is made. Throughout, parallels are drawn with what was happening in the rest of the world at that time.
N.B. This visit is not suitable for children.
Church Street Cemetery, Pretoria
We visit Church Street Cemetery and Heroes Acre, visiting the graves and telling the stories of history of the graves visited. Apartheid, the South African war, the 1914 Rebellion, Joepie Fourie, Queen Victoriaís nephew, Australia, Breaker Morant and his execution by the British, are all stories touched on in the cemetery.
We visit Melrose House, where the Peace of Vereeniging was signed in 1902 to end the South African War.
Paul Kruger's Home
After providing a background to the man, we visit Paul Krugerís home, now a museum to that era and the man.
Jan Smuts' Farm
Depending upon time we then visit the Farm of Jan Smuts. He was one of the founders of the League of Nations and the man who founded the Royal Air Force in Britain during World War 1, as well as the South African War Concentration Camp Memorial in Irene. The stories of the war are told and of the concentration camps.
We drive past the building where Winston Churchill was imprisoned during the South African War and tell the story of his capture and subsequent escape.
© Spear of the Nation Tours, 2002-.