Cloudy day disappoints Voortrekker Monument guests

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Hundreds of South Africans and tourists were disappointed when the low clouds prevented a rare ray of sunshine to hit the cenotaph at noon at the Voortrekker monument in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The monument was designed specifically in such a way that a ray of sunshine light up the words “ons vir jou Suid-Afrika” meaning “We for you South Africa” on the cenotaph at 12 o’clock only on 16 December, each year.

More than 2 000 people attended the church service earlier on Tuesday morning to commemorate the oath the Voortrekkers made to God before the Battle of Blood River.

The promise was to treat 16 December as a holy Sunday if God helped them defeat a Zulu army in a fierce battle in 1838. On that day, history was made as the Voortrekkers were victorious, being able to push back the Zulu army despite having men in fewer numbers.

Photo: Traditionally thousands gather on 16 December to witness the only day in the year that the iconic ray of sunshine hits the cenotaph in the centre of the monument. Photo: Wikipedia.

The congregation sang one of the hymns the morning before the battle and read the oath that was made out loud.

Operational manager of the Voortrekker Monument, Wessel van Rooyen, says Afrikaners believe every time the sun shines on the cenotaph the vow made at Blood River is renewed.

He says the Monument also celebrates Reconciliation day in an effort to make the monument more accessible to other cultures.

“For the last three years we have appointed an education manager and he targets especially the black schools to get them over here and to teach them about the history of the Afrikaner,” he explains.

Van Rooyen says a day in which the sun does not light up the cenotaph is exceptional.

– By Liela Magnus