In Darkness: Africa Images of Africa Totality in Zambia
by John Walker

South Africa

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The Voortrekker Monument outside Pretoria was completed in 1949. Inside is a marble frieze containing 27 panels commemorating events of the Great Trek in which settlers of Dutch origin emigrated from Cape Colony to the Transvaal between 1835 and 1854. At the centre of the monument is the cenotaph which bears the inscription "We for thee, South Africa". An opening in the dome atop the monument is positioned so that every year at noon on the 16th of December a beam of sunlight illuminates the cenotaph. Prior to the 1994 elections which brought Nelson Mandela to power, December 16th was celebrated as the "Day of the Vow", commemorating the massacre of the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River; it remains a holiday but is now called "Reconciliation Day". Surrounding the monument is a circular wall with reliefs representing the wagons of voortrekkers pulled into a circle.

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by John Walker
July, 2001
This document is in the public domain.