From the stories of the hunter-gatherers to the racial oppression witnessed during Apartheid, South Africa has indeed walked a unique journey that will forever remain etched in the annals of history.
Currently, there are several national monuments designed to commemorate the different facets of South African history. Here, we look at the top five most significant monuments in South Africa’s history.
5. Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest remaining colonial building in South Africa. It has witnessed the establishment of a very diverse and prosperous nation. The gigantic structure was constructed by the Dutch East India Company from 1666 to 1679. Located in Cape Town, the castle was declared a historical monument (now a provincial heritage site) in 1936. Part of the fort was used as a prison during the Second Boer War between 1899 and 1902.
4. The 1820 Settlers National Monument
Located in Eastern Cape Town, overlooking Grahamstown, the 1820 Settlers National Monument was established in 1974 to honor the contribution of South Africa’s first English speakers (British settlers) to the country’s cultural melting pot. The site is occasionally used as a location for important conferences. It also serves to promote the use of English as a contact language and as a center of creativity and innovation.
3. The Voortrekker Monument
The Voortrekker Monument is a massive granite structure located on a hilltop, south of Pretoria. It was built in 1937 to commemorate the Voortrekkers (a group of Trekboer pastoralists and Cape Dutch citizens) who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. The site was declared a National Heritage Site in 2011 by the South African Heritage Resource Agency.
2. The Noon Gun
Since 1806, the Noon Gun has been a historic time signal in Cape Town. The gun is located on Signal Hill, a few kilometers from the center of Cape Town city. The gun was set up in 1901 by the British colony and was originally used to announce the arrival of ships to the port and fire time signals that allowed ships in port to check the accuracy of their marine chronometers.
- Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Created in 2012, the Nelson Mandela Capture Site is located a few kilometers outside Howick KwaZulu-Natal. It is a gigantic sculpture of the first Black president of South Africa, the late-Nelson Mandela. What makes this site marvelous is the fact that the former president’s portrait is captured in 50 steel columns, measuring 6.5 and 9 meters high, each of which is attached to the concrete floor. The portrait can only be viewed at 35 meters away from the front of the sculpture. It commemorates the day Mandela, a former freedom fighter, was arrested in 1962 during Apartheid.