Voortrekker Museum

contact Tel: 033 394 6835, 033 394 6836
Fax: 033-3946797
Send us an e-mail
venue 351 Langalibalele Street Pietermaritzburg
time Mon to Fri 9am-4pm
Sat 9am-1pm
open all pub hols
closed xmas & ny
cost Call for details
age All ages

Heritage museum of different cultural groups of Kwazulu natal

Since the 1990ís, the Voortrekker / Msunduzi Museum in Pietermaritzburg has been transformed from a historically single-themed museum to one that depicts the heritage of different cultural groups of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Voortrekker Memorial Church and historic Church Hall were also recently acquired.

The Main building is home to a variety of cultural-history exhibitions which are also constantly being upgraded and expanded, like Ď A Tapestry of Culturesí on the Mezzanine floor, now open to the public. Those interested in the history of the Struggle for Democracy, may find the Birth of Democracy Display on the ground floor informative.

Tapestry of cultures

A few rooms on the mezzanine floor of the Main Building are dedicated to the cultural heritage of the main groups living in Pietermaritzburg and KwaZulu-Natal. The research for these displays was done in cooperation with members of the local community, which gives it a more personal and local atmosphere.

The Tapestry of Cultures Display was recently upgraded and some inter-active elements added. Visitors will for example learn more about the role of cattle in different cultures, and be able to touch and play a few traditional musical instruments.

The history of Pietermaritzburg

On display in the Main Hall of the Museum Main Building, the exhibition portrays some aspects of the history of Pietermaritzburg. It explains why there are different names for the city, gives an overview of the buildings, military history, healthcare, different religious groups etc.

Old wagons and other historical vehicles have pride of place, and a small room is dedicated to the ĎSeven daysí War of the early 1990ís.

Birth of Democracy

The Birth of Democracy Dislay is housed in a separate room in the Museumís Main Building. It highlights the struggle for freedom in South Africa. There is a number of photographs depicting the apartheid rule (pre and post 1948), the strikes and the struggles of the Black South Africans fighting against apartheid, the formation of the Congress Youth League in 1944 and the South African Studentsí Organization (SASO) and their Black Consciousness Movement in 1969 with their leaders, various state leaders (between apartheid and democracy eras), the Soweto Uprising, the Sophiatown Removals, the Sharpeville Massacre, exiles and sanctions, changes in South Africa, Mandelaís release, etc.

Church of the Vow

The Church of the Vow is the original part of the museum, and houses exhibitions dealing with the history of the Church, the Vow the Voortrekker made before the Battle of Bloodriver/ Ncome, and the lifestyle of the Voortrekkers. The original pulpit, made by 2 German Craftsmen in 1840, is still on display.

Pretorius House

The Pretorius House was awarded the Master Builders of SA Award for Historical Buildings in 2008, and is supposedly the first double-storied farmhouse that was built in Natal. It is furnished with items and furniture from the 1850ís, most of which belonged to Voortrekkers who settled in Natal.

The voortrekkerhuisie

This is one of the oldest original Voortrekker houses built in Pietermaritzburg, and dates from the early 1840ís. At the moment it houses a small display of items from the Anglo Boer War, specifically focusing on the concentration camps in Natal.

E.G.Jansen Extension

The Extension, added to the museum in 1955, is home to one of the original oxwagons used on the Great Trek, as well as a large number of Voortrekker memoribilia. The story of the origin of the Great Trek, its leaders and some of its most touching incidents is depicted.

Educational programs for schools

The museum has developed several Educational Programs to enhance and supplement school curriculae from Gr R to Gr 12. In 2009 we also added some interactive elements to existing programs in order to make them more fun.

Programs are available in English, Afrikaans and Isizulu. Booked school groups pay a nominal fee of only R1-00 per child, and entrance for educators is free.
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