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History of Pretoria - History

History of Pretoria - History

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(Transport: dp. 14,130; 1. 561'1"; b. 62'2"; dr. 25'9"; s. 13 k.;

Pretoria was built in 1897 by Blohm and Voss K. G., Hamburg, Germany for the Hamburg-Amerikanische Paketfahrt A. G.: taken over by the Navy 28 March 1919, and commissioned at Cowes, England 29 March 1919, Comdr. Arehibald Grahame Stirling in command.

Upon arriving at Boston 28 April 1919, Pretoria, a sister ship of Graf Waldersee and Patricia, was assigned to the New York Division of the Cruiser Transport Force. Between 11 May and 25 August, she made four crossings from Brest France to New York during which she returned 10 380 World War I veterans to the United States. Among the irmy units that Pretoria brought home were 8th, 149th and 150th Maehine Gun Battalions, the 149th Field Artillery Battalion and the 144th Infantry Battalion.

Pretoria was turned over to USSB at New York 25 November 1919.

After the abortive Jameson Raid, the government of the ZAR became concerned about the safety of its capital city, Pretoria, both from foreign invasion as well as from the growing number of Uitlanders (Foreigners) on the Witwatersrand. Consequently, a defence plan for Pretoria was drawn up by a former French artillery officer, Léon Grunberg. This plan was approved on 24 March 1896 by the Executive Council of the ZAR.

The plan recommended that eight strategic positions around the city should be fortified by means of armoured turrets equipped with artillery. The positions identified were Schanskop, Kwaggaspoort, Daspoortrand, Magaliesberg-wes, Wonderboompoort, Derdepoort, Strubenkop and Klapperkop. The armoured turrets were subsequently found to be unacceptable, and thus the plan of two German engineers, Otto Albert Adolph von Dewitz and Heinrich C Werner to build forts instead, were accepted. [1] However, due to a lack of money, only four forts were eventually built.

Fort Schanskop, Fort Wonderboompoort and Fort Klapperkop were designed by Von Dewitz and Werner of the German engineering company Krupp, assisted by architect Christiaan Kuntz and building contractor Celso Giri.

The three forts are pentagonal reinforced, with more fire range possibilities through numerous facets. Attacks from any direction could be warded off by revolving guns on their ramparts. To prevent infantry attacks, loopholes were built into the walls. Trenches, barbed-wire entanglements and fortified rooms were erected as reinforcements.

These forts were the most modern structures of their time and modern mediums of communication, such as telephones, were used to equip the telegraph room.

Many black labourers and about 400 white builders, mostly Italians, were involved in the building of these forts. To address technical aspects such as the electrical connections between forts, German and Dutch experts were consulted.

Fort Schanskop Edit

This fort was built at a cost of GBP £47,500. It was handed over to the government on 6 April 1897. It was supplied with a paraffin engine powered generator for electricity, electrical lighting and a search light. A telephone and telegraphic links were also installed. Water was supplied from a pump station in the Fountains Valley which was shared with the nearby Fort Klapperkop.

The garrison was initially armed with one officer and 30 men and was armed with 37 mm Maxim-Nordenfeldt cannon, Martini-Henry hand-cranked Maxim machine guns and a 155 mm Creusot gun (also known colloquially as a "Long Tom"). By October 1899, only 17 men were still stationed at the fort.

Both the garrison and the armaments were gradually reduced during the course of the Second Anglo-Boer war until there was only one man and no guns left over on 5 June 1900, the day on which British forces occupied Pretoria. [4] The fort was briefly occupied in 1993 by Willem Ratte to protest the multi-racial government of South Africa at the cost of Boer and Afrikaner heritage. [5]

The surrounding area currently includes a refurbished statue of Danie Theron which was originally erected at the Danie Theron Combat School in Kimberley. The statue was moved to its current location at Fort Schanskop and unveiled on 6 March 2002.

Also included on the premises is a scale model replica of the Trek Monument that was inaugurated on 16 December 1954 in Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika).

Fort Schanskop is a Gauteng Provincial Heritage Site and a provincial heritage site. [6]

Fort Wonderboompoort Edit

This fort was completed in September 1897 by Von Dewitz and Werner for a total cost of GBP £49,000. As with Fort Schanskop, it was also supplied with electricity, a telephone and running water.

The fort was armed with a 75 mm Creusot gun ("Long Tom"), a 37 mm Maxim-Nordenfeldt cannon and a hand-cranked Martin-Henry Maxim. Initially eighteen gunners were stationed in the fort, but both men and armaments were gradually withdrawn until only one gunner and no cannons were left on 5 June 1900.

Fort Klapperkop Edit

Klapperkop, the name of the hill where the fort is located is derived from the Afrikaans name for Strychnos pungens, a tree that grow natively on the hills in the region. [8]

This fort was constructed at a total cost of GBP £50,000. It was handed over to the Government on 18 January 1898. It was supplied with a paraffin engine powered generator for electricity, a telephone and telegraphic links. Running water was supplied from a pump station in the Fountains Valley which was shared with the nearby Fort Schanskop.

Unlike the other forts in the surrounding area, the design incorporated a moat as well as a drawbridge. The moat was never filled with water.

Fort Klapperkop was armed with a 155mm Creusot gun ("Long Tom"), a 37 mm Maxim-Nordenfeldt cannon, three Martini-Henry hand-maxims and a 65 mm Krupp Mountain Gun.

In January 1899 the fort was manned by 17 troops. In July 1899 the number of troops was increased to 30. By end October 1899, only 16 troops were still stationed at Fort Klapperkop. As with the other forts, men and armament were gradually withdrawn and sent elsewhere during the course of the war.

It is said: "Never a shot in anger was fired from this fort."

The area is declared a military museum. On 31 May 1979 the South African Defence Force Memorial was unveiled at Fort Klapperkop. It includes a statue of a soldier holding a R1 rifle, in memory of all members of the South African Defence Force who lost their lives serving their country. The individuals who have lost their lives are honoured with an inscription on a number of marble plaques mounted around the statue. [9] Members who have died in operations as a result of enemy action are indicated with an asterisk (*) next to their names.

The City of Tshwane has recently identified Fort Klapperkop as the new location where the parliament of South Africa will be built. During the State of Nation Address in 2016, President Zuma has indicated that parliament may finally move from Cape Town to Pretoria. This move will avoid the situation where the country is maintaining two capitals, Pretoria as the administrative and Cape Town as the Legislative Capital. This will also assist the state in cutting the expenditures of Cabinet Ministers and MPs who frequently have to travel between Pretoria and Cape Town, two houses in both Cape Town and Pretoria and two cars in both cities. Less travelling will also means that Cabinet Ministers will have more productive time. [11]

As Stephen explained in a previous interview with The Daily Mail, he came up with the solution to end all of their woes during a lonely, quiet night in his prison cell. While reminiscing about his childhood years, he suddenly remembered how he would pick locks back at home.

As the former prison inmate told The Daily Mail, this memory was to transform his life, and soon enough, he had begun to test out various plans that could help him and Tim get out of the horrid institution. 

Stephen began to experiment with wooden keys – the exact replicas used by prison guards – during his compulsory shifts at the prison&aposs wood workshop. 

Once the key was ready to go, they had to work out how to get the door open without the guards noticing. Stephen would wait until the guards had gone to sleep. 

He would then lean out of the tiny opening next to the door of his cell, and get the key inside the lock with a broomstick and a mirror. After a few tries, he managed to get the key to the right position and the door opened. 

"[This] was hugely emotional," Stephen described The Daily Mirror how the first breakthrough made him feel. "This was going to let us out of the cells into the corridor," he added. 

While the first step toward freedom might have been exhilarating, it was far from their most momentous achievement. Stephen and Tim had to open 11 doors in total, some right next to the guards&apos office. To make this possible, they befriended another inmate, Alex Moumbaris. 


In 1979, Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee are two white South Africans carrying out anti-apartheid missions in South Africa. They are arrested and prosecuted Jenkin is sentenced to twelve years and Lee is sentenced to eight. At the courthouse Lee attempts to escape but to no avail. Transported to Pretoria Prison, they meet Denis Goldberg, an older [political prisoner] serving four life sentences for previous work against apartheid. He shows them the ropes but discourages them from trying to escape.

Jenkin and Lee discuss escaping with another prisoner, Leonard Fontaine. They settle in and go about their daily routines, but Jenkin starts to analyze the prison and think of ways to escape. He steals items from the wood shop to make wooden keys that fit the locks to their cells. He sneaks around the prison at night, making keys for other locks. Lee and Jenkin bury these keys in the prison garden while tending it and make many other preparations for their escape.

Fontaine and Jenkin do a test run by using keys to leave their cells. They hide in a closet as the night guard walks by. They use another key to leave the cell block, but they have to run back to their cells before they can use another key. The guards search everyone's cells the next day but fail to find anything. Later, Jenkin discovers that a new gun tower is being built. He, Fontaine and Lee present their plan to Goldberg and other prisoners who decide against trying to escape with them.

Jenkin, Lee and Fontaine execute their plan using the wooden keys. They gather tools hidden in various areas and change into street clothes. Once again, they hide in the closet to evade the night guard. Goldberg short-circuits the light in his cell, causing the electricity to go out and calls for the guard, distracting him so that the trio can reach the last door. They cannot get any of the keys to work on this door but Fontaine breaks it open using a chisel and screwdriver. They leave the prison and find a taxi to take them out of Pretoria. We learn that they reached London by way of Mozambique and Tanzania, that they continued to fight apartheid and that Goldberg was finally freed in 1985.

    as Tim Jenkin as Stephen Lee as Denis Goldberg as Leonard Fontaine as Mongo as Captain Schnepel
  • Adam Ovadia as Van Zadelhoff
  • Adam Tuominen as Jeremy Cronin as a prisoner in the prison waiting room (extra, non-speaking role)

The film was written and directed by Francis Annan. [3] The film is an Australia-UK co-production, co-financed by Arclight Films, New York-based Magna Entertainment and with the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation. [4] Sam Neill was originally cast as Goldberg, in May 2017. [5]

Filming commenced on location in Adelaide, South Australia, in March 2019, with some scenes being shot at Mitcham railway station and others in the centre of the city, in Pirie Street. [1] [6] Jenkin spent some time in Adelaide, advising Radcliffe on accent and other aspects of the film, as well as playing as an extra, playing a prisoner next to Radcliffe in the visiting room. [7]

The film contains two pieces of music by the Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Dies Irae from his Requiem Mass in D minor and the Kyrie from his Mass in C minor. The latter was also featured prominently in a classic prison film, A Man Escaped directed by Robert Bresson.

Escape from Pretoria was released on 6 March 2020 in the United Kingdom by Signature Entertainment and in the United States by eOne and Momentum Pictures. [8] It was released for rental on digital platforms iTunes, Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video and Virgin on the same date, and had a limited cinema release in the UK, US and some other countries. [9] It became available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from 20 April 2020. [9]

The film was screened on 11 July 2020 at select cinemas in Adelaide as part of Adelaide Film Festival, after cinemas had just reopened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. [10]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 72% based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Escape from Pretoria doesn't quite do justice to the fact-based story it's dramatizing, but that lack of depth is offset by suitably gripping jailbreak action." [11] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [12]


The Southern Transvaal Ndebele occupied the river valley, which was to become the location of the city of Pretoria, by around 1600. During the difaqane in Natal, another band of refugees arrived in this area under the leadership of Mzilikazi. However, they were forced to abandon their villages in their flight from a regiment of Zulu raiders in 1832.

The first “Boer” homestead in the Pretoria area was probably the home of J.G.S. Bronkhorst, who settled in the Fountains Valley in 1840. More Boer families put down roots around the nearby Elandspoort settlement. In 1854, two years after the Sand River Convention conferred formal independence on the territory north of the Vaal River, the residents of Elandspoort had the village proclaimed the ‘kerkplaas’ for central Transvaal. This made it the focal point for communions, baptisms and weddings.

The Founding of Pretoria

Pretoria itself was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River. Andries Pretorius also negotiated the Sand River Convention (1852), in which Britain acknowledged the independence of the Transvaal. Pretoria, at it’s founding year, consisted of about 80 houses and 300 residents.

Pretoria became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) on 1 May 1860. The founding of Pretoria as the capital of the South African Republic can be seen as marking the end of the Boers’ settlement movements of the Great Trek.

Development of Pretoria as we know it today

Commandant-General Marthinus Wessel Pretorius had bought a large amount of land in the area, which was taken over by the government as they foresaw the development of a large centre. The town proper began to take shape in 1856 as a result of Andries du Toit, a presidential advisor, exchanging of one of his Basutho ponies for the entire area known, today, as Arcadia. He spent the next two years surveying his property with pegs and chains. Stephanus Meintjies developed the area and was honoured by having a nearby hillock named Meinjieskop. This resulted in Pretoria extending from Potgieter Street in the west to Prinsloo Street in the east and from Boom Street in the North to Scheiding Street in the South.

Not long after its establishment it became known as the ‘city of roses’ because its climate encouraged the growth of rambler roses, which covered gardens and hedges all around the city. In 1888 J.D. Cilliers, a resident ad avid gardener, imported Jacaranda trees from Rio de Janeiro to plant in his Myrtle Grove garden. These trees flourished and as a result the city is now aptly known as the ‘Jacaranda City’, with about 50 000 Jacarandas lining its streets.

The British annexed the Transvaal in April 1877, which resulted in a steady flow of immigrants and migrants. During the Transvaal War of Independence the British withdrew and Paul Kruger took over.

The Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange Free State were united with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa. Pretoria then became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital. Between 1860 and 1994, the city was also the capital of the province of Transvaal, superseding Potchefstroom in that role.

On 14 October 1931, Pretoria achieved official city status. When South Africa became a republic in 1961, Pretoria remained its administrative capital.

Post Apartheid

After the creation of new municipal structures across South Africa in 2000, the name Tshwane was adopted for the Metropolitan Municipality that includes Pretoria and surrounding towns.

Pretoria previously had a rather sinister image as “the capital of Apartheid South Africa”. However, Pretoria’s political reputation was changed with the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black President at the Union Buildings in the same city.

In 1994 Peter Holmes Maluleka was elected as transitional mayor of Pretoria, until the first democratic election held later that year, making him the first black mayor of this capital of South Africa. Maluleka later became the chairman of the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan City Council (later Tshwane Metro Council), then was elected Speaker of the Tshwane Metro Council and in 2004 was chosen to be a member of the South African Parliament for the Soshanguve constituency.

Significant Landmarks

Church Square has always been the hub of Pretoria, although it was initially called Market Square. This was where the first church, a mud-walled building, was built. It burnt down in 1882 and was replaced by a much grander structure. Open markets were regularly held in the Square and Albert Broderick, an Englishman christened Albertus Broodryk, by his Afrikaans friends and customers established himself as shopkeeper. He also ran the community’s first bar, the ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’.

When Mr. Sammy Marks, a well-known Jewish industrialist and close friend of President Paul Kruger, was allowed to build the town’s first synagogue he expressed his pleasure by commissioning the sculptor Anton van Wouw to produce a statue of the president. A plinth was erected in Church Square to receive the bronze figure that had been cast in Rome. Unfortunately the South African War broke out and the statue was held up in the then Lorenzo Marques. This resulted in the statue only being erected in 1854, after several changes of site. Church Square was redesigned as a tramway in 1910, much to the disappointment of many of Pretoria’s residents who had tried to convince the civic authorities to create a gracious area of fountains, gardens and Continental-style paving in order to showcase Pretoria as a city.

During the rule of the old dispensation Pretoria was the Administrative capital of South Africa. The modern city has many features that retain a position of importance in, especially, the white history of the country. These include the Union Buildings, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, which still houses government establishments the old Raadsaal (council chamber) of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek on Church Square and the house where President Paul Kruger lived until his exile in 1900.

Outside the city towers the Voortrekker Monument and the two massive forts, Klapperkop and Schanskop, built by the Boers to protect their capital against the British. Here you can also find the large and imposing buildings of the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Our history

The National Zoological Garden of South Africa (also informally known as The Pretoria Zoo) is an 80-hectare (200-acre) zoo located in Pretoria, South Africa. It is the national zoo of South Africa, and was founded by J. W. B. Gunning in 1899. Pretoria Zoo is one of the eight largest zoos in the world and one of the most highly rated.

The farm Klein Schoemansdal, the property of Z.A.R. president Stephanus Schoeman, was sold to Johannes Francois Celliers who renamed it Rus in Urbe. It was acquired by the state in 1895, and the zoological gardens was established at the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899. It became the official National Zoological Gardens in 1916.


The South African National Biodiversity Institute was established on 1 September 2004 through the signing into force of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 by then President Thabo Mbeki.

The Act expanded the mandate of SANBI’s forerunner, the National Botanical Institute to include responsibilities relating to the full diversity of South Africa’s fauna and flora, and built on the internationally respected programmes in conservation, research, education and visitor services developed over the past century by the National Botanical Institute.

The National Botanical Institute (NBI) was an autonomous, statutory organisation formed by the amalgamation of the National Botanic Gardens and the Botanical Research Institute in 1989. Both these organisations were founded early in the twentieth century to conserve and study the exceptionally rich southern African flora and both were world-renowned for their endeavours in this field. This rich legacy passed on to the NBI. With its head office at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, the Institute had gardens and research centres throughout South Africa. It ran environmental education programmes and maintained databases and libraries specialising in information on the plant life of southern Africa. On the 1 Sep 2004 the NBI became the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in terms of Act 10 of 2004.

  • Post author: Henno Kruger
  • Post published: Oct 10, 2020
  • Post category: Facts
  • Post comments: 7 Comments

I’ve lived in Pretoria (aka “Jacaranda City”, aka “Snor City”, aka “The 012”, aka “P-town”) since 1996. I was away for about a year (from March 1998 to January 1999) but I’ve been a resident of this fine city for over 20 years.

Here are 20 facts you didn’t know about Pretoria:

1. “Church” street is a very long street…

Pretoria’s main street, Church Street (which sections have been renamed to Stanza Bopape, Helen Joseph, WF Nkomo and Elias Motswaledi Streets) is the longest urban street in South Africa and one of the longest straight streets in the world.

2. Pretoria has a lot of embassies and consulates…

According to this website, there are 101 embassies / consulates in Pretoria. The embassies for the People’s Republic of China and the USA take up a whole blocks in Arcadia and are quite a sight. (Thanks for the heads up Joseph)

3. At one stage, former British prime minister, Winston Churchill was a “resident” of Pretoria…

Winston Churchill was imprisoned at the Staats Model School in Pretoria during the Anglo Boer War period (1899-1902) but escaped from captivity and fled to Mozambique. He went on to become the British Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.

4. Capital Craft Beer Academy has a lot of beers on their menu…

Pretoria has one of the best beer restaurants in the country, Capital Craft. It has the biggest beer variety for a restaurant in Africa. They have branches in Menlo Park and Centurion and there are more than 200 different beers from all over the world on their menus and if you’re hungry, their food is really good too. The owners have also been hosting an annual craft beer festival since 2013. Last year’s event attracted close to 8,000 punters.

5. Pierneef Street has a rich history…

The duplex flats next to Picasso’s pub in Pierneef Street is where the world famous artist Pierneef’s house stood. The city council didn’t know it was his house and gave permission for the house to be demolished. The street and the primary school down the road are named after him. Pierneef left a bunch of paintings in his will to the school. To this day whenever the school needs money they auction off a painting.

6. Pretoria almost had a different name…

“Pretoriusdorp”, “Pretorium”, “Pretoriusstad” were all considered as names by Marthinus Pretorius (the founder of the city, whose father Andries Pretorius). MW Pretorius bought two farms to start a new town. The first church congregation was named Pretoria Philadeplhia (Pretoria Friendship) in honor of Pretorius’ father. Later the town took on the shortened name of Pretoria. (Thanks for correcting me Andrew Buitendach).

7. Cafe Riche has an interesting history…

Cafe Riche (a restaurant on Church Square) has a glass pane that you walk over to get into the restaurant. This is because it used to be a gentleman’s club. The club was underground so the glass was there so the gentlemen could look up under the ladies skirts (who were walking into the club). True story.

8. Pretoria has a lot of Jacaranda trees…

Pretoria is also known as the “Jacaranda City” because of the over 50,000 Jacaranda trees that lines her streets and carpet the city in purple for three weeks in October. The first Jacaranda trees were imported from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1888 by a Pretoria resident.

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually less Jacaranda trees in Pretoria than in Johannesburg (the world’s biggest man-made forest with over 10 million trees).

9. Moreleta Park’s name origins are interesting…

Moreleta Park is named after Aletta Erasmus (daughter of Daniel Elardus Erasmus) from the farm Doornkloof (modern day Waterkloof / Erasmusrand / Elarduspark / Moreleta Park). Aletta washed her clothers in the river in the morning and then people greeted her in the morning from across the stream with “More Aletta” (“Morning Aletta”). A part of the Erasmus farm was sold to Alois Nellmapius. He renamed it to Irene Estate (after his daughter Irene Nellmapius). She got her name from the Greek goddess of peace, Eirene.

10. Tom Jenkins drive has an interesting history…

The 1.88 km long Tom Jenkins Drive road (which connects Rietondale with Brenturion / Arcadia – the area close to the Union Buildings) was built by Italian Prisoners of War during the Second World War. It’s named after a former mayor of Pretoria. Jenkins also went on to become the mayor of Margate (in Kwazulu Natal).

11. Madiba made a speech in Church Square in 1964…

The Rivonia Trial (where former SA president Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders were sentenced to life-long imprisonment) took place in the Palace of Justice (on Pretoria’s Church Square). This is also where Madiba made his “I’m prepared to die” speech on the 20th of April 1964.

12. Fort Schanskop also has a rich history…

Fort Schanskop (one of four forts in the Pretoria area) was completed in 1897 and is located in the Voortrekker Monument Nature Reserve on the highest hill in the Pretoria area. The garrison was initially armed with one officer and 30 men but it was reduced to 17 men (by 1899) and eventually to 1 person without guns (by June 1900).

No shots were fired at this location during the Anglo Boer War. Nowadays Fort Schanskop gets used for Park Acoustics (a monthly live music event in the capital city featuring great SA artists).

13. Paul Kruger’s house is still standing in Pretoria Central…

Paul Kruger House was built in 1884 by architect Tom Claridge and builder Charles Clark. He was the president of the ZAR (later known as Transvaal) from 1883 to 1900. Milk was used instead of water for mixing the cement from which the house was constructed, as the cement available was of poor quality.

It was one of the first houses to be lit by electricity in Pretoria. The two stone lions on the verandah were presented to President Paul Kruger as a birthday gift on 10 October 1896 by Barney Barnato (the mining magnate).

14. Melrose House is really old…

Melrose House (located across the road from Burgers Park) was built in 1886 by Pretoria businessman George Jesse Heys. It was named after the famous Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Lord Roberts requisitioned it as the headquarters for the British forces after Pretoria was invaded by them in June 1900.

For over 18 months instructions for the British forces in the field were issued from here. The use of the house as a military headquarters ended when the Treaty of Vereeniging (which ended the war) which was signed at Melrose House on the 31st of May 1902.

15. The Union Buildings took 4 years to construct…

The Union Buildings (which were designed by Sir Herbert Baker) was constructed between 1909 and 1913. It took approximately 1265 artisans, workmen and labourers to construct, using 14 million bricks for the interior office walls, half a million cubic feet of freestone, 74,000 cubic yards of concrete, 40,000 bags of cement and 20,000 cubic feet of granite.

At the time of completion it was the largest building in the country and possibly the largest building work undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere at that time. The 9m tall statue of Nelson Mandela (which was errected in December 2013) cost R8 million and weighs 3.5 tons.

16. Aandklas Hatfield also has a rich history…

Aandklas Hatfield opened up its doors in 2006. This cottage turned bar was built in 1943 for the use of Mr F. Jacobz. It was a residential house until 1996. It was converted by the owner to a commune for the use of university students.

Eventually this was converted into a venue called Up The Creek in 2002 and it became Aandklas in 2006. I actually bumped into one of the original commune occupants a few years ago who told us that “it was fun drinking in his commune again”.

Since Hatfield Square was demolished in 2015, it’s one of only 4 bars that remain in the area. In Hatfield’s heyday there used to be more than 15 in the area.

17. The Botanical Gardens have been around for more than 70 years…

The Pretoria National Botanical Gardens was established in June 1946. The University of Pretoria granted approval to the Department of Agriculture for the development of a botanical garden on a piece of land that was previously part of the University’s Experimental Farm.

The Department of Agriculture acquired properties on the Northern ridge and the garden was officially opened in October 1958. One could only visit these gardens if you made special arrangements, but in 1984 that changed when the gardens were opened its gates to the general public.

18. Church Square was used as a location in a movie…

A part of Church Square was used as a location for the 1996 film, The Ghost and The Darkness (which starred Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas). The steam train that was used in the film was borrowed from the Pretoria Railroad Museum.

19. Elon Musk was born in Pretoria…

The famous business magnate, investor, engineer and inventor Elon Musk was born in Pretoria in 1971. He attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and eventually graduated at Pretoria Boys High School before he moved to Canada.

20. The area where Loftus Versfeld is located has been used as a sport field for more than 100 years…

The area was first used as a sports field in 1906. In 1914 the f ields got initiated as Eastern Sportsgrounds. In 1923 the first concrete structure was erected with seating for 2000 spectators. Changing rooms and toilets were added in 1928. Mr Loftus Versfeld died and the stadium was renamed to Loftus Versfeld in 1932.

In 1948 improvements were made to the stadium. Between 1972 and 1984 various pavilions were added and in 1989 the main stand pavilion was renovated to what it resembles today. The Eastern pavilion was renovated in 1995. It was renovated again for the FIFA World Cup in 2008.

BONUS Facts:

21. “Mamelodi” is the name derived from the Sepedi word with the prefix being “ma” meaning mother, and the suffix “melodi” meaning melody. It can be also mean Mother of Melodies.

22. The suburb of Sunnyside was incorporated into Pretoria in 1890, the suburb of Arcadia was incorporated into Pretoria in 1889 and the suburb of Brooklyn was incorporated into Pretoria in 1902.

23. The suburb of Voortrekkerhoogte (located near the Voortrekker Monument) was renamed to Thaba Tshwane in 1998.

24. Petrol driven buses were introduced as a mode of public transport into Pretoria in 1972.

25. The first tram ran in Pretoria in 1910. The system was abandoned in 1939.There were about 13.5 miles (21 km) of tracks for trams in Pretoria.

Well, there you have it, Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Pretoria. This article will always be a work in progress, so if you have any facts about Pretoria that you want to share, e-mail me via [email protected] . You’re also welcome to leave a comment below.

If not from Pretoria and thinking of visiting Pretoria one day, make sure that you book accommodation. There’s plenty of options to choose from.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

The History of the Department

At its inception on 10 February 1908 the University of Pretoria was known as the “Transvaal Universiteitskollege” (T.U.K.) or the Transvaal University College. This was the origin of the name “Tuks”, as used by the students and has been used in connection with the University ever since. The University can rightly claim to be the oldest university in Transvaal and one of the oldest in South Africa. At first, Kya Rosa was the only lecture rooms available and the building was known as the Pretoria Centre of the Transvaal University College. In 1908 the University consisted of four professors and 32 students. In 1909 Kya Rosa's function changed to that of a student residence.

The T.U.K. officially became the University of Pretoria on 10 October 1930 with a total of 1 074 students. This number grew to 23 375 in 1991 making the University the largest residential university in South Africa and one of the largest in Africa.

In 1956 the Department of Electro-technical Engineering came into existence and in 1976 an independent Department of Electronic Engineering was established. This made UP the first university with an independent Department of Electronic Engineering. The Department of Electronic Engineering expanded to become the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering in 1986 and on 1 April 1992, due to consolidation and academic steps taken, it merged again with the Department of Electrical Engineering to form the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

In 1999 a new undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering was introduced, resulting in another name change for the Department in 2000: “The Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering” – which is the current name.

The Department has always been (and still is) one of the largest engineering departments in the country with extensive postgraduate and research activities in the most important sub-fields of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering. Specialist fields include control systems, bioengineering, industrial electronics & electric drives, electromagnetism, electronics & microelectronics, energy systems, power systems, advanced sensor networks, telecommunication & signal processing and many more.

THE 1900'S

The second headmaster (in the current buildings) was Mr Daniel Duff Matheson, appointed in 1935. A Scotsman with a great passion for golf, his attitudes to then common practices such as corporal punishment, were remarkably progressive for their day. "Baldy" or "Garibaldi" as he was known, became a much-loved headmaster in his day.

The first school musical production was staged in 1938 under the direction of Elwyn Davies. It was the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "The Mikado" which set the pattern for decades to come. In the first years of annual productions, a temporary stage was erected until it eventually became a permanent fixture.

History of Pretoria - History

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. The Volksraad agreed to the establishment of a town as well as to the name Pretoria. The actual date of this decision was the 16th December 1855 and this date is regarded as Pretorias birthday. Prior to this decision there was some difficulty about the choice of a name. Pretoriusdorp, Pretorium, Pretoriusstad and Pretoria-Philadelphia were among the suggestions. But Pretoria was selected. It was the choice of the son, Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, who wished to honour the memory of his father, Commandant-General Andries Pretorius, the hero of Blood River and negotiator with Britain of the Sand River Convention, which acknowledged the independence of the Transvaal." Pretoria became the seat of government on 1 May 1860.

The bid by Potchefstroom (a conservative medium-sized town about 300 kilometres to the west of Johannesburg) to secure the role as the capital of what used to be called the province of Transvaal failed, and the Volksraad (parliament) was established in Pretoria.

Relations between the gold mining industry and the leaders of the Transvaal Republic (ZAR) were often strained, but it is a credit to the Boer leaders who, not only maintained a semblance of control over the miens but also prospered from the growing revenues.

The Jameson Raid, an ill-conceived plant o take over the Transvaal failed, creating an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion that was to lead to eventual war with Britain in 1899.

While Johannesburg was the scene of many dramatic incidents, the focus now moves to Pretoria, where apartheid was actually administered (Pretoria is the administrative capital of the country).

Pretoria Central, where a number of people convicted of atrocities during the apartheid years are now imprisoned. This was also the location of Death Row in South Africa, and the place where one of the youngest black activists to be hung for political activity, Solomon Mahlangu, a resident of Mamelodi township outside Pretoria, died in 1976.

There is now a square in the township named after Mahlangu, with a dramatic statue commemorating his life. A number of white activists received very long sentences in Pretoria Central. The longest serving of these was activist Denis Goldberg, who served some 20 years.

Church Square (which includes the Palace of Justice and a statue of the legendary boer leader Paul Kruger) is a site full of associations with a number of struggles for freedom.

The turreted Palace of Justice was the scene of one of the most famous of South Africas major political trials, the Rivonia Trial, during which Nelson Mandela and a number of major heroes of the struggle for racial freedom was charged with treason and subsequently incarcerated.

The Union Buildings, were built in the early years of the 20th century ' during the period of political Union between the former British colonies of the Cape and Natal and the two Boer Republics. The Union Buildings embody much of the philosophy held by the British at the time over the way colonies should be run and governed.

The Union period of South Africas history (1902-10) was about building bridges between the Boers and Britain after the bitterness of the Boer War ' but no one gave thought or attention to the rights of black South Africans. It was soon after the Act of Union was passed in 1920 that the first broad-based African movement was formed specifically to lobby and work for black rights in South Africa.

Watch the video: Pretoria 1981 archive footage (August 2022).