As South Africans, as Afrikaners (Afrikaans speaking South Africans) we felt it our duty to visit this monument. Built in loving memory of the greatest of all expeditions. The Great Trek.
Physically, the Voortrekker Monument is 40 metres high, with a base of 40 metres by 40 metres. The building has strong architectural resemblance to German monuments, in particular the Völkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig.
The Voortrekker Monument is not a fancy structure, it does not have huge fresco's or elaborate decorations. It represents exactly the afrikaner people. We are strong, practical and to the point. We are proud and hard working. We have suffered many setbacks but we have survived, prospered even. Through the years we played our part in shaping this country.
At the foot of the Monument stands Anton van Wouw's bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children, paying homage to the strength and courage of the Voortrekker women.
The huge granite structure is guarded by the 4 pillars of the Great Trek. Four men who lead the boers, men who not only acted as path finders but proved themselves as war hero's. Their faith in God guided them and kept the members of their trek safe. They showed courage in the face of adversity. These men will always be remembered as hero's.
The Cenotaph, situated in the centre of the Cenotaph Hall, is the central focus of the monument. In addition to being viewable from the Hall of Heroes it can also be seen from the dome at the top of the building, from where much of the interior of the monument can be viewed. Through an opening in this dome a ray of sunlight shines at twelve o'clock on 16 December annually, falling onto the centre of the Cenotaph, striking the words 'Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika' (Afrikaans for 'We for Thee, South Africa'). The ray of light is said to symbolise God's blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers. December 16, 1838 was the date of the Battle of Blood River, commemorated in South Africa before 1994 as the Day of the Vow.
From the hall of hero's you can go up the stairs to the very top of the dome or for the faint of heart you can go up just a few stories and walk around to the viewing deck. The rugged architecture of the building is quite impressive. The views from here is great. We could even make out the Union Buildings in the far distance.