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Voortrekker Monument launches garden to commemorate Great Trek

The Battle of Blood River as depicted at the new Great Trek Route Garden at the Voortrekker Monument. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

The Battle of Blood River as depicted at the new Great Trek Route Garden at the Voortrekker Monument. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 14, 2021

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Pretoria - The Voortrekker Monument has launched its Historic Trek Trail Garden alongside the largest historical adventure game.

The garden resembles the routes of the trek leaders, which include Piet Retief, Gerrit Maritz, Piet Uys, Andries Hendrik Potgieter and Louis Trichardt, who have towns and cities named after them in South Africa.

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The garden will become a focus facility, where children can relive the experience of the Great Trek.

The facility’s Barry Muller said the launch marked exactly 183 years since the Voortrekkers promised to build a church and “forever honour the day as a holy day of God in return for God's help in obtaining victory”.

They also vowed that they and their descendants would keep the day as a holy Sabbath. A replica of the Church of the Vow was also unveiled during the launch.

Children and descendants of Voortrekkers at the unveiling of a model of the Church of the Vow at the Voortrekker Monument. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Muller also said they were trying to go back to the original plan by planting plants from the specific areas that the Voortrekkers had visited, but the biggest and main reason was education through play.

“We also created a few games that the children can play while going through here, so that they can learn what happened in those years while they play,” Muller said.

The garden has replicas of various statues and monuments which can be found around South Africa including the Vegkop, the Bible Monument, Church of the Vow, Retiefklip and Ohrigstad Fort, which are famous beacons alongside the historical route.

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Awie Erasmus, one of the descendants of Andries Hendrik Potgieter, was at the launch and he said it was special and humbling to be part of the event that honoured his forefather.

“This may be something from the past but it is giving us guidance for the future, that is why I brought my children here today. I want to show them the steadfastness of their forefathers and how they managed to put their trust, not only on themselves, but on God,” he said.

Johannes Retief, a descendant of Piet Retief’s brother Daniel Retief, said they were thankful to the Voortrekker Monument for the launch.

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“This means a lot to us, especially to my wife and I because we got engaged here back in November 1969. To be here today brings back such good memories,” the 80-year-old said.

Resident Alet Rademeyer said more people, especially locals, should visit the monument so that they could learn more about their history, which should be preserved for future generations.

Pretoria News

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