Inside Africa, Travel

7 Most Amazing Monuments and Statues in South Africa

3. The Purple Shall Govern, Braamfontein

While you are visiting the Braamfontein suburb in Johannesburg, you will notice a huge mural bearing an image of Nelson Mandela along with the words “The Purple Shall Govern.”

Nelson Mandela Under Construction

Nelson Mandela mural under construction – image credit to: Jesse Stagg – CC BY-SA 4.0

Many people do not know the story behind this mural or its slogan. It was painted to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Purple Rain Protests. These took place on September 2nd, 1989 in Cape Town. Elections were to be held in four days, and protesters were trying to march on parliament. The police responded violently with tear gas and water cannons. The cannons shot purple dye so the color would stick to skin and clothes, making it easy to identify protesters in the days to follow. This would facilitate their arrest.

It was a turning point in the story of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid. In fact, just eleven days after the Purple Rain Protests, 30,000 protesters were able to march without any issues. And thus we get the phrase, “The Purple Shall Govern.”

2. The Huguenot Memorial Monument, Franschhoek

This lovely monument was built to commemorate the Huguenots, who immigrated to South Africa during the 17th and 18th centuries. Designed by J.C. Jongens, the monument’s most prominent feature is a set of three arches, standing for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The statue of the woman was designed by Coert Steynberg, and stands for freedom of religion. The pool was constructed to represent tranquility. Indeed, the Huguenot Memorial Monument is a wonderful place to rest and relax and clear your mind and renew your spirit.

Huguenot Monument

Huguenot Monument – image credit to: Janek Szymanowski – CC BY-SA 3.0

1. Taalmonument, Paarl

Also known as the Afrikaans Language Monument, this is perhaps the most distinctive-looking monument in South Africa. Situated on a hilltop with a view of Paarl below and the surrounding mountains, it celebrates Afrikaans’ place as an official language in South Africa.

Afrikaans Taal Monument

Afrikaans Taal Monument – image credit to: Missysimons – CC BY-SA 3.0

Jan Van Wijk’s unique design is beautiful to behold and contains abundant symbolism, expressing through architecture how languages and cultures in South Africa have influenced Afrikaans. It also expresses how Afrikaans itself functions as a bridge between cultures, cementing both unity and diversity.

Conclusion: South Africa’s Beautiful Monuments and Statues are Well Worth Visiting

The history of South Africa is a turbulent one, but this is a country where tremendous strides of progress have been made in the name of human rights. That movement into the future has not just bettered the lives of South Africans, but set an example for the world. When you visit the monuments and statues of South Africa, you have a chance to enrich your life with the inspiring stories of a nation that managed to pull itself out of the bitter darkness of apartheid and into the light of democracy.

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