Freedom Park (Salvokop, Pretoria)
Overview of the Freedom Park
Freedom Park is the creation of a memorial that narrates the story of South Africa's pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid, and post-apartheid history and heritage, spanning a period 3.6 billion years of humanity, and to acknowledge those that contributed to the freedom of South Africa. Freedom Park stands a monument to democracy, and serves as a symbol of the tortuous journey to and the sacrifices made for freedom.
As one of the 11 Presidential Legacy Projects of South Africa, Freedom Park was launched in June 2000, and opened its doors in December 2007. Freedom Park is located on a 52-hectare site on Salvokop in Pretoria, and offers visitors a spectacular panorama of the capital city of Gauteng, Pretoria.
Freedom Park weaves the story of where South Africans come from, and the historical events that shaped the South Africa of today.
Freedom Park's core theme is the struggle for humanity and freedom. These connections are expressed through the elements that constitute Freedom Park:
"A resting place for the spirits of those who died in the struggles for humanity and freedom"
Isivivane is situated on the eastern hill of Freedom park, and the concept is derived from the word "Viva", which means "to come together in a group". An accumulated heap of stones, called Isivivane, was believed to bring good fortune to long-distance travellers by paying homage to the landscape and all that it contained.
"A memorial that commemorates the major conflicts that shaped South Africa"
On the crest of Salvokop, nestles S'khumbuto. It stands as a testimony to the various conflicts that shaped South Africa, and commemorates those who have sacrificed their lives for humanity and freedom. S'khumbuto comprises a number of elements, including the Wall of Names, Amphitheater, Sanctuary, Eternal Flame, Gallery of Leaders, and Reeds.
"A high level hospitality suite, which will be used for presidential and diplomatic functions"
Moshate also acts as the VIP retreat for negotiations, discussions, and the signing of agreements and accords.
"A spiral path, which links all the elements of Freedom Park together"
Mveledzo has been designed in such a way that visitors are taken on a contemplative journey in the serenity of the natural landscape as they walk between the elements of Freedom Park.
"A peaceful place where families can spend the day together or where visitors to Freedom Park can relax and reflect after a tour"
Uitspanplek is the ideal place to stop and reflect after visiting the other elements of Freedom Park. The area is tranquil, and offers panoramic views over the city.
"An interactive exhibition space where the story of Southern Africa, dating back 3.6 billion years, will unfold in narrative and visual form"
The name //hapo means "dream", and was drawn from the Khoi prover "//hapo ge //hapo tama /haohasib dis tamas kai i bo", which translates as "A dream is not a dream until it is share by the entire community"
Water, the essence of life, features prominently in cleansing and healing rituals.
"A peaceful garden and walkway; an ideal space for meditation, self-discovery, healing and spiritual contemplation"
The direct translation of the Venda term Vhuawelo is "nesting place". The spiral path serves a similar purpose as a labyrinth would.
Review of the Freedom Park
When you visit the Voortrekker Monument one day, you can look out over Freedom Park, and see it's landmark steel "reeds". Although Freedom Park has been in our midst for quite some time, we never visited it. Afraid of political propaganda I suppose. But, Freedom Park came as quite a surprise when we eventually did visit it.
The area is huge, and if you reflect on each of the elements, you can spend quite a while here. Guided tours are offered, but we opted for the map and a tour of our own. The area is beautiful, with stunning views of Pretoria. Well maintained and clean, Freedom Park is something South Africans can be proud of. A lot of effort went into creating this magnificent attraction.
Unfortunately, a number of the exhibition information panels were in African languages, and we were unable to understand them. This could pose a problem for visitors, and especially for foreign visitors.
But, at the end of the day, Freedom Park is a nice place to visit with the family.