Below is a short write-up on the architectural style of our house

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Corrugated Irony - A Short History of the Tin Roof

Corrugated iron was developed and patented in Britain around 1830 and has travelled the world. Born during the industrial revolution it travelled to the expanding colonies of the Empire, notably to Australia, India & South Africa; it also found popularity on the frontiers of the Americas and wherever it went it transformed the landscape.

The gold rushes of the nineteenth century were a spur to the migration of thousands of people to the far corners of the globe, where there was little infrastructure.  Victorian Britain was the workshop of world and saw export opportunities for corrugated iron on the goldfields of California, Australia and South Africa.  The nature of corrugated iron, being light, easy to stack, and portable, made it an ideal building material to export to places such as Kalgoolie or Pilgrim’s Rest, which were at the back of beyond.

What is corrugated iron? Corrugated comes from the Latin word “Ruga” which means to wrinkle or crease, thus to corrugate a thin metal sheet, the sheet has to pass through a set of rolls in order to fashion it into a series of sinusoidal waves which gives it greater strength and stiffness (in direction of span). Originally made from wrought iron, but since the 1890’s made from mild steel, it is often supplied with a hot-dip galvanised finish to prevent rusting. Its merit over traditional building materials, i.e. masonry or timber, is that it is cheap, durable, lightweight, strong, re-usable and easily transported; such versatility is the key to its continuing use.

In the South African context, the demand for corrugated iron arose as a result of the many major mineral discoveries made in the late 19th Century; the first being the Kimberley diamond rush of 1871, which was closely followed by several gold rushes, culminating in the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, which founded the City of  Johannesburg. These mine camps were at first tented at best and required better accommodation as the mineral reserves were proven to be more than just “a flash in the pan”. This in turn meant that more permanent dwellings were essential to cope with the Highveld’s cold winters and hot summers.

"Tin tabernacle" constructed  entirely from corrugated iron
The mine villages  that developed along the  Witwatersrand’s Main Reef, between Springs & Krugersdorp made much use of corrugated iron as a cladding, both for the roof & walls of the buildings, which included houses, shops, halls and churches (so called “tin tabernacles’”), as well as the mine surface workshops. The lack of local infrastructure meant that all building materials and mining equipment had to be transported, by train, vast distances from the ports to the rail-heads and then taken onward by ox wagon. The story goes that Paul Kruger, the then President of the Transvaal Republic, imported corrugated iron roof sheeting for his farmhouse situated nearby to Rustenburg; on its arrival, after
"Tin tabernacle" constructed  entirely from corrugated iron
several months in transit,  it was found that there were not enough sheets to cover the roof. Being the wise old man he was, he had the oxen in-spanned and by rolling the wheels of his wagon over the corrugations he managed to widen the sheets enough to provide the required coverage. It is rumoured that this act was the origin of the saying “n boer maak ‘n plan”.

Corrugated iron has stood the test of time, has gone in and out of fashion and has extended its usefulness; apart from it still being used for roofing, it is also used for tanks, farm reservoirs, grain silos and culverts. A secondary role has now come into play with the recycling of the material for the building of informal settlements, to be seen on the outskirts of not only the major cities of South Africa, but also most of the cities of the third world.

In conclusion, some say that corrugated iron is a blot on the landscape, a curse. However I say it is a blessing as it has served mankind well over the last 170 years or so. It has great durability, is easily recycled and can finally be melted down for scrap, making it a sustainable, eco-friendly building material, which will continue to serve for many.

Reproduced from the Heritage Portal  -  Article Author: Peter Ball

Thursday, 18 June 2015

A short history of Tudor Chambers

View from Church Square
The Sammy Marks fountain is in the foreground
View from Church SquareTudor Chambers today 

Tudor Chambers was originally a speculative development intended for street-level retail and luxury offices in typical high-street or city-centre square fashion.

Melrose House in 2005

Coach magnate and businessman George Heys 
George Heys
purchased the site in 1893 and set in motion the construction of Tudor Chambers, designed by British architect John ELLIS, in 1903 with material imported from Scotland by Heys’s own maritime transport company. It had Heys’s own offices. Heys had had Melrose House built as his own residence. Read more about Melrose house <here>

Advertisement for "George Heys and
Company's Express Saloon Coach Service."
Its architecture is typical of the late Victorian but untypical in its place, being an Arts and Crafts Tudor Revival with distinctive Art Nouveau features in the decorative framing of the shop-windows at ground floor retail, and in the brassware furnishings of the three upper storeys. With its parapets and corner tower it was the tallest building in Pretoria at the time of its construction. Over time the building fell into disrepair, the roof deteriorating to such an extent that the building repeatedly flooded, causing damage to walls, floors and ceilings in addition to the exterior damage by the elements. 


A modern tower that
replaced the original dome

The original tower was lost in a windstorm and it is now commemorated in a newly configured steel structure of lighter construction so as to be less prone to wind load.

It was purchased in 2007 by Alec Wapnick of City Property, an ardent art lover and property magnate. Wapnick has also purchased all the furniture and photographs of the office of JG Heys (No 3 Tudor Chambers) as well as the counter of the maritime transport and insurance company which Heys undertook in the next door office (No 2 Tudor Chambers). A museologist has restored the furniture and reconstructed the office in Alec Wapnick’s private gallery.

Restored in 2008 for the City Property Group by GAPP Architects & Urban Designers. Nicholas CLARKE of ARCHIFACTS acted as heritage consultant to CULTMATRIX on the project.

For related content on  click <here>


Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Magnificent Gardens of the Union Buildings

The Union Building gardens today

The following article, compiled by Penny Blersch, appeared in the April 2015 issue of The Arcadian. It provides some historical snippets about the gardens of the Union Buildings and the many memorials dotted around the site. Thank you to the Arcadia Residents' and Ratepayers' Association (ARRA) for sharing it. Enjoy...

"The gardens of the Union Buildings were planted and constructed over a period of seven years by the Department of Public Works. Work was completed in 1919. Since the gardens and buildings are situated on Meintjieskop, the site is quite sloped and the garden is therefore divided into stepped terraces. The impressive steps run up the middle of the garden leading up to the main entrance of the Union Buildings. The formal garden lines up with the 285m wings of the Union Buildings. The terraces and retaining walls are built predominantly of mountain stone that was quarried on site.
Union Buildings and Gardens circa 1920
Originally all the plants in the formal garden were indigenous. However, over the years this has changed, for example, roses have been planted and many of the annuals are exotic. Although the formal garden takes centre stage, there are many significant smaller gardens, statues and memorials which have been added over the years.

1. The Flanagan Arboretum was planted in 1920 on the western side of the Union Buildings and houses more than 50 indigenous trees. The plants were bequeathed to the South African Government by Henry Flanagan, a botanist and plant collector.

2. Western Smuts Garden and Memorial was commissioned by the Jan Smuts Memorial Committee and unveiled in 1975.
Smuts Memorial Gardens 

3. 1956 Women’s March Memorial was erected at the top of the Amphitheatre in a vestibule between the east and west wing. It was unveiled on 9 August 2000. It consists of a grinding stone mounted on metal. The steps leading up to the memorial have been inscribed with extracts from the petition that the more than 20 000 women presented to the then Prime Minister JG Strijdom against the carrying of passes.
1956 Women's March Memorial 

4. The Delville Wood War Memorial, standing proudly at the top of the stairs of the terraced garden, pays tribute to the South African troops who died during the First World War. A few terraces further down are plaques with the names of South Africans who died during WW1, WW2 and the Korean War.
Delville Wood Memorial at the Union Buildings

Delville Wood Memorial at Sunset

5. The 9 metre high bronze  Statue of Nelson Mandela is the newest addition to the gardens. It was unveiled on 16 December 2013. A statue of Prime Minister JBM Hertzog stood on this site for many years but was moved to another position in the gardens.
Nelson Mandela Statue at the Union Buildings
Distant view of the Nelson Mandela Statue at the Union Buildings

6. The Police Memorial and amphitheatre was built on the old tennis courts of the Craigielea Estate. It was unveiled by the State president, PW Botha, on 17 October 1984 to honour all policemen and women who have died in the line of duty.
Police Memorial at the Union Buildings 

7. The Southern Lawns have been the location for many public gatherings over the years. Crowds have gathered either in protest or celebration for marches, speeches and inaugurations. The statue of the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, General Louis Botha, takes centre stage on the lawn. It was unveiled in 1946."
View of the Union Buildings from the Southern Lawns
 with statue of Louis Botha in the foreground.
Source: April 2015 issue of The Arcadian, a monthly publication of the Arcadia Residents' and Ratepayers' Association (ARRA)  

Saturday, 21 March 2015

HF Gros and his remarkable collection of early Transvaal Photographs

This blog entry is reproduced from a article in the Heritage portal written by Rod Kruger

Camera similar to the one used by H.F. Gros 1885

H Ferdinand Gros was of Swiss origin. He arrived in South Africa circa 1869. 

On July 16th 1870 he was advertising that the Photographic Salon 'will resume again' in the 'Burgherdorp Gazette'. 

In the 'Diamond News' on March 9th 1872 he announced that he was taking over the studio of Weber and Gros and that he would soon open a 'Superb Salon' at New Rush (Kimberley). The New Rush studio was advertised for sale in 'Diamond News' 13th April 1872. However, this sale appears not to have happened as in 'Diamond News' on October 8th and December 10th 1872 he was still advertising the New Rush studio. 

HF Gros' photographic studio in Pretoria

He visited the goldfields at Pilgrim's Rest and Mac Mac ('Diamond News' May 9th 1874 and February 13th 1875). He also visited Lydenburg goldfields. In 1877 he set up the 'Photographic Gallery' at the corner of Church Street and van der Walt Street, Pretoria. 

In 1877 he photographed the Transvaal Annexation Commission at Ulundi House, Pretoria. He also photographed scenes in Pretoria during the First Boer War, these were later bound in to the limited edition (200 copies) of 'News of the Camp' (1880-81).
News of the camp

He photographed Chief Sekukuni in 1879. Circa 1888 he made a photographic tour of the Transvaal. 
Picturesque aspects of the Transvaal - 1888

He returned to Europe in 1895 and his Pretoria studio was taken over by J. Perrin (Cowan 1978, pp.99-101).

Below is a small selection of wonderful photographs taken by Gros. Enjoy..

The men who took on Victoria's soldiers.
The men were:

Back Row:
1. Veldkornet L.P. Bezuidenhout, Potchefstroom
2. Kmdt. S.P. Grove, Middelburg
3. Asst. Kmdt. Generaal H. Schoeman, Pretoria
4. Kmdt. Henning Pretorius, Elandsfontein, Pretoria
5. Kmdt. Lewis Fourie, Lange’s Nek

Second Row
6. Kmdt. H.R. Lemmer, Potchefstroom
7. Kmdt. J.D. Weilbach, Potchefstroom en Lange’s Nek
8. Weesheer J.S. Joubert, Sen., Gijzelaar te Newcastle
9. Kmdt. J. du Plessis de Beer, Wonderboom, Pretoria
10 Kmdt. D.J. Muller. Leydenburg

Third Row
11. Kmdt. Hans Erasmus, Raad Huis, Pretoria
12. Generaal J.P. Steyn, Leydenburg
13. Kmdt. Hans Botha, Zwartkop Pretoria
14 Kmdt. G. Engelbreght, Standerton

Front Row
15. Veghtgeneraal J.M. Kock, Potchefstroom
16. Veghtgeneraal Frans Joubert, Bronkhorstspruit
17. Kmdt. Generaal J.P. Joubert
18. Generaal N. Smit

19. Generaal P.A. Cronje, Potchefstroom.

The same rifles, bandoliers and clothing can be seen on a few individuals, which indicates that they were studio props and not necessarily the property of the individuals on the photos. This fact has been overlooked by many researchers, who used this set of photos when researching Boer firearms.

Passenger and Government Mail Coach (circa 1888)

'Sticking Fast' - In the Six Mile Spruit near Pretoria (circa 1888)
Camping at Matocks
A timbered stope - Meyer and Charlton (circa 1888).
Harry Struben is wearing the bowler hat

Knights lake at Driefontein (circa 1888).
Again Harry Struben is wearing the bowler hat.

Struben Brothers Stamp Mill (circa 1885 )
Fred and Harry Struben - Confidence Reef Mine (circa 1885)

Native Labourers working on an incline shaft (circa 1888)

Hatherley Distillery near Pretoria (circa 1888)
Botanic Garden (Witpoortjie) falls (circa 1885)

Rod Kruger with a Gros album

Rod Kruger, Bull, Marjorie and Joseph Denfield (1970) 'Secure the shadow: the story of Cape photography from its beginnings to the end of 1870 '. Cape Town: T. McNally.
Cowan, N. (1978), 'Photograficana of H.F. Gros', 'Africana notes and news'. Volume 23, number 3, pp.99-104.
'Transvaal almanac 1877'.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mystery cars: Nardi Bisiluro's asymmetrical Le Mans racing car

Nardi Bisiluro's asymmetrical Le Mans racing car with
 the driver on the right, engine on the left, radiator in the middle.
  Blohm & Voss BV 141 in 1938. 
In 1938, the German airplane maker Blohm & Voss created several examples of asymmetrical bombers which, although nimble and fast, would not enjoy much success as part of the Luftwaffe. Several years later, an Italian, Nardi Bisiluro would use the idea to his advantage, this time on four wheels...


Never lacking imagination, but often lacking the financial means, Enrico Nardi continued his quest to evolve the car from its first appearance in 1932. Considering the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the only event worthy of showcasing his ideas, he took on the challenge of beating French auto-makers Renault and Panhard in their favourite class of engines smaller than 750cc. After a debut cut short in only the second lap in 1954 (water pump), he returned the following year with an ambitious project, thanks to a unique perspective.

Rather than adapt the exterior forms to the chassis, why not design the ideal bodywork first, then adapt the rest of the car to it? Following this logic, Enrico Nardi hires engineer-architect Carlo Mollino to design a very aerodynamic car, with a radiator in the middle, which he sees as a wing. He then added all the essential elements to make the car totally asymmetrical, with two fuselages. The left side housed the engine and transmission while the right side carried the driver, who needed to be small in stature.

The middle section was equipped with an
air brake... or a jumpseat ! 

The tight quarters in the cockpit necessitated
a very special steering wheel for the time.
To improve the braking performance, the car was equipped with an aerodynamic flap in the center. The ingenious air brake unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view) was replaced by a jumpseat (!) on the eve of the practice sessions, as the rules required a passenger seat in the car. Another innovation, the radiator was comprised of rectangular tubes aiming to disperse the heat thanks to the air flowing through them. Thre rest of the car was made up of various vehicles: Lancia Appia or Fiat 1100, with the entire weight totally only 400 kg.

The Nardi Bisiluro at Le Mans
During practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Nardi Bisiluro shows great speed (220 km/h) and performs very well in its class. Despite that, the drivers are worried to even turn around in the cockpit as the car requires a very soft touch due to extreme sensitivity to any change of direction. Even worse, they have a difficult time driving the car in a straight line! Their fears would come true in the race when after only 148 minutes, the  Bisiluro driven by Damonte is overtaken, or rather "blown" over by a Jaguar...

Retrieved from the ditch without much harm done to car or driver, the  Nardi Bisiluro would spend the rest of its days at the National Science and Technology Museum ‘Leonardo da Vinci’, in Milan.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Timeline of Pretoria’s History

Union Buildings

This timeline was reproduced from the ShowMe Pretoria website

The Southern Transvaal Ndebele tribe settles in the area which was to become the location of the city of Pretoria, after travelling from Natal led by a chief called Musi.

Andries Pretorius, who would later become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River in 1837, arrives in the area north of the Vaal.
Southern African king Mzilikazi and his tribe, who’d been residing in the region since 1825, is defeated by the Voortrekkers and forced to flee across the Limpopo.

First permanent White inhabitants arrive in the Pretoria area.

The United Kingdom signs the Sand River Convention treaty with approximately 5 000 Boer families, recognizing their independence in the region to the north of the Vaal River and by doing so, laying the foundation for the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic).
Statue of Andries Pretorius at the City Hall

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius purchases two farms named Elandspoort and Daspoort. The farms are declared a town in November, originally named ‘Pretoria Philadelphia’ in honour of MW Pretorius’ father and his father’s brothers.

Pretoria is founded and established as the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, named after General Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorius- a leader of the Boers who was instrumental in the creation of the Transvaal Republic.

Church Square is created on the order of MW Pretorius. Town planners, The Deveraux brothers, design a square for market and church purposes.
Map of Church Square

Andries Francois du Toit, in exchange for a Basuto pony, acquires a part of MW Pretorius’ farm ‘Elandsfontein’.  He names the pony ’Arcadia’. The Union Buildings would later be constructed on Elandsfontein Farm.

Marthinus Wessels Pretorius is elected the first President of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.

The first church in Church Square is completed and inaugurated by Reverant D Van Der Hoff.

Andries Francois du Toit is sworn in as Pretoria’s first magistrate and is responsible for the layout of the city.
Andries Du Toit
The first state aided school is opened with qualified Dutch teacher Hendrik Stiemens as headmaster.

Marthinus Wessels Pretorius resigns as president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) and is elected President of the Orange Free State.

Pretoria is named the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek on the 1st of May 1860.

Pretoria’s first Raadsaal (council boardroom) is erected on the corner of Market and Church streets.
First Raadsaal

Marthinus Wessels Pretorius is elected as President of the ZAR for the second term.
Statue of  MW Pretorius at the city hall

The first mail coach is established in Pretoria.

Pretorius is forced to resign as President after consenting to the Keate award.

Thomas Francois Burgers is elected State President of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.
The Pretoria Post Office is established.

‘De Volkstem’/’Die Volkstem’, a Dutch- and Afrikaans language newspaper, is established by President Burgers and circulation starts in Pretoria.
De Volkstem
British statesman Sir Theophilus Shepstone proclaims the annexation of the Transvaal to Great Britain.

First telegraph office is established in Pretoria.

The United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, insists on maintaining British control in Pretoria.

The First Anglo-Boer War begins on the 16th of December and Pretoria is surrounded by Boers in order to stop the British forces stationed there from taking part in the fighting.
Fort Klapperkop

The First Anglo-Boer War ends with the restoration of the Transvaal Republic under the Pretoria Convention.

Paul Kruger is the new elected President of Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.
Pres. Kruger on the balcony

The London Convention replaces the Pretoria Convention.

The Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek passes Law 3 of 1885, which empowers the government to specify the areas where Asians can reside.

Construction of the first Post Office building on the north corner of Church Street begins.

New Post Office building with mail coach

The President Theatre, also known as The Empress from 1903 to 1910 and the first theatre in the city, is erected.

The Nederlandsche Bank opens. The name later changes to Nederlandsche Bank Voor Zuid Afrika.
The Nederlandsche Bank

The suburb of Arcadia is incorporated into Pretoria.
Plan of Pretoria 1878

Work starts on the new Raadsaal (council boardroom), with the foundation stone being laid by President Kruger on 6 May.

Magistrates Court is built on the north east corner of Koch and Pretorius Streets.

The first telephone exchange, that was ordered for Johannesburg, is installed in Pretoria due to insufficient subscribers in Johannesburg.

The suburb of Sunnyside is incorporated into the city of Pretoria.

The suburb of Les Marais, as well as the Asiantic Bazaar, is established.

The foundation stone of the Pretoria Hospital is laid by President Kruger.

Construction on The Raadsaal is completed.

The "Ou Raadsaal" on Church Square
The Press Printers is established on the corner of Koch and Vermeulen Streets.

The suburb of Pretoria West is established.

The first railway station is erected in Pretoria. The Nederlandse-Zuidafrikaanse Spoorwegmaatchapij is responsible for the maintenance of the railroad.
Arrival of the first train at Pretoria Station

Pretoria Station

Electricity is introduced to Pretoria. The residence of the president is the first in Pretoria to be lit by electricity.

The Staatsmodelschool is established on the corner of Van der Walt and Visagie Streets.

The State Gymnasium is established for the training of teachers.

State Girls school (now Hamilton Primary school) and State Gymnasium is established.
State Gymnasium

The Delagoa Bay railway line is officially opened by Paul Kruger on 8 July.

The suburbs of Mayville, Eloffsdal and Villiera are established.

The Suburb of Hermanstad is established.

The Foundation stone of the building of the Palace of Justice is laid by President Kruger in Church Square.
Palace of Justice

Roseville and New Muckleneuk are established.

Construction on the Palace of Justice in Church Sqaure is completed.

Pretoria News is launched by Leo Weinthal, the first editor of the Printing Press.
Pretoria News offices
 Erection of the Staats Meisjies Skool (State Girls School) building.

War is declared between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State.

Signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging, ending the South African War. The republics then become British colonies.
Melrose House - where the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed

Signatures on the treaty
The suburb of Brooklyn is established.

The Transvaal Museum as well as Pretoria Zoo is established by J. W. B. Gunning, who is appointed as first director.
National Museum of Natural History

Gezina, Wonderboom South, Rietfontein, Parktown, Mountain View and Claremont are established

Pretoria Gardens, Daspoort, Rietondale and Waterkloof are established as residential suburbs.

A sewerage system introduced in Pretoria.

The Opera House is opened by the Pretorian Mayor of the time, Eddie Bourke.
The facade of the old Opera House

Foundation stone laid for the new Town Hall.

Lady Selbourne, Hatfield and Booysens are established as residential suburbs.

A fountain is erected in the middle of Church Square. This fountain was later moved to the Zoological Gardens in 1911.
The fountain on Church Square

The birth of the Union of South Africa with Pretoria as administrative capital and Cape Town as the legislative capital.

Louis Botha becomes the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.

Electric trams are introduced to Pretoria.
Electric tram in Pretorius Street
Tram in Church Square
A statue of President Kruger is erected in Princes Park.

The National Party is established.

The Municipal Tram Sheds are built on the corner of Van Der Walt and Schoeman Streets. There were about 13, 5 miles of tracks for trams in Pretoria.

Construction on the Union buildings is completed.
The Union Buildings
Capital Park is established as a residential suburb.

First pass law is introduced in South Africa, designed to regulate movement of black Africans in white urban areas.

Iscor Limited, a South African parastatal steel company, is founded by the South African Government with its first works in Pretoria.

The residential suburb of Colbyn is established.

Pretoria is officially declared a city and construction of the City Hall begins to celebrate the city-status.

The United Party government is formed under Generals Hertzog and Smuts.

Menlo Park is established as a residential suburb.

The Pretoria City Hall is inaugurated on the Paul Kruger Street south of Church Square and across the street of the Transvaal Museum.
Pretoria City Hall

Establishment of Atteridgeville, named after the Deputy mayor Patricia Atteridge.

Waterkloof Ridge is established as a residential suburb.

First 50 families are relocated from Marabastad to Atteridgeville.

The suburb of Danville is established.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is established. It’s South Africa’s central and premier scientific research and development organisation.

The National Party runs victoriously in the elections and subsequently enacts a mass of racial legislation that is designed to preserve white supremacy in South Africa. The National Party names it’s policy “apartheid.”

The residential suburb of Groenkloof is established.

The Hercules municipality is merged with Pretoria.

The township of Mamelodi is established by the government on the farm Vlakfontein on the northeast outskirts of Pretoria.

20 000 women marches to the Union Buildings in protest against South Africa’s apartheid-era  pass laws on 9 August 1956.
1956 Womens march

Black inhabitants from the Lady Selborne district, as well as other areas including Attridgeville, Mamelodi and Ga-Rankua takes part in a protest against a decision to raise bus fares.

The Treason Trial begins, in which 30 of the accused, including Nelson Mandela, were only released in March 1961, because the State could not prove its case.
The Old Synagogue where the Treason Trial (1958 – 1961) took place
H.F. Verwoerd becomes Prime Minister of South Africa.

Establishment of Laudium, a residential township for Indians.

South Africa becomes a Republic and leaves the Commonwealth of Nations.

Eersterus, an area created by the government to allocated and relocated people of the coloured race to, is laid on the farm Vlakfontein, 15km east of Church Square.

The Rivonia Trial began at the Palace of Justice in Church Square. Nelson Mandela was among the accused.
Rivonia trial court room

The Pretoria Art Museum is inaugurated by the new mayor of Pretoria, Dr PJ van der Walt.

The municipalities of Silverton and Pretoria North are incorporated into Pretoria.

The township of Ga-rankuwa is officially opened in the Tswana homeland.

A new nationalist daily newspaper, Hoofstad, as well as the morning newspaper Oggendblad, are established.

Petrol driven buses are introduced in Pretoria.

UNISA moved into its new home on Muckleneuk Ridge.
Unisa with the Telkom tower in the background

Anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko dies in a Pretoria prison on the 12th of September 1977.
Steve Biko

Biko's coffin in a cart drawn by oxen

Three ANC men take 25 hostages in the Pretoria suburb of Silverton, demanding the release of Nelson Mandela. The three ANC men and two white female hostages are killed.

The Voortrekkerhoogte Military Base outside Pretoria is attacked. Two British citizens, Nicolas Heath and Bonnie Lou Muller, are identified as accomplices in the assault.

A car bomb at the South African Air Force in Pretoria kills 15 people.

On 20 may 1983 a motor bomb was detonated outside the Poyntons builging in Church Street. 19 people were killed and more than 200 were injured.
Scene after the explosion
Scene after the explosion

Approximately 7 000 people attends an Afrikaner Volkswag rally in Pretoria.

Two grenade attacks occur in townships in Pretoria.

Esther Masuku, mother of youth activist and South African Council of Churches-member Oupa Masuku, is killed in a hand grenade attack on their house in Atteridgeville .

The P. W. Botha regime declares a nationwide state of emergency to crush Black resistance.

Four municipal police officers are killed and one injured in Atteridgeville.

A bomb explodes prematurely outside Pretoria’s Sterland cinema, killing the carrier and wounding a bystander. According to the ANC, the intended target was a nearby government building.

In September, a bomb explodes at the Laudium home of a Pretoria municipal election candidate.

The Pretoria Minute is signed as a result of talks between the South African government and the ANC in Pretoria.

The people of Pretoria took part in South Africa’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994.
Iconic image of the 1994 elections
Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on 10 May 1994 at the Union Buildings as South Africa’s first democratic president.

Loftus Versfeld Rugby Stadium was one of the host stadiums in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

The Motor Industry Development Programme was implemented by government. Pretoria hosts half of the light vehicle manufacturers located in the country (Volvo, Nissan, BMW, and Ford). Daimler, Tata, Mahindra and Volkswagen also have representation in the City of Tshwane.

The military area, known as Voortrekkerhoogte, was renamed Thaba Tshwane. It was founded around 1905 by the British Army, and was first known as Roberts Heights after Lord Roberts.

Thabo Mbeki becomes the second democratically elected President of South Africa.

The Gordon Institute of Business Science is established by the University of Pretoria.

The City of Tshwane Municipality is established.

The Innovation Hub, a community of successful, innovative companies is established.

The University of Pretoria establishes a High Performance Centre at its LC de Villiers Sports Grounds. It’s South Africa’s first tertiary sporting academy.

Deputy President Jacob Zuma facilitates meetings between Pierre Buyoya, the President of Burundi and rebels Alain Mugabarabona, Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and Pierre Nkurunziza in Pretoria.

Supersport Park in Centurion, was one of the host stadiums of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup.

The people of Pretoria took part in South Africa’s third democratic elections on 14 April 2004

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) was launched as a nationwide programme covering all spheres of government and state-owned enterprises. Apart from being South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria hosts most government departments.

Pretoria’s council votes and The South African Geographical Names Council approves to change the city’s name to Tshwane.

President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, and Laurent Gbagbo, President of Côte d’Ivoire, hold talks in Pretoria to advance peace in Côte d’Ivoire.

Xolilizwe Mzikayise Sigcawu, the 11th paramount chief of the Gcaleka sub-group of the Xhosa nation and an active member of the House of Traditional Leaders, dies at No 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria.

5 000 Telkom workers stage a protest march against Telkoms’s profit-sharing scheme in March.

Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws, two Boeremag treason trial accused, escape from the Pretoria High Court.

Marais Viljoen, former State President of South Africa, dies in Pretoria from heart failure at the age of 91.

Freedom Park opened in December 2007.
Freedom Park
The University of Pretoria’s business school, the Gordon Institute of Business Science, replaces the Graduate School of Management.

Nelson Mandela receives the Freedom of the City award from the City of Tshwane.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium is one of the venues used for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, hosting the Group B matches USA vs. Italy, USA vs. Brazil and Brazil vs. Italy.

The people of Pretoria took part in South Africa’s fourth democratic elections on 22 April 2009.

On 9 December 2010, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was launched. Their corporate office is located at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria.
World cup - The Telkom tower in Groenkloof had a soccer ball fitted

Loftus Versfeld Rugby Stadium was one of the host stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Gautrain route from Rosebank to Pretoria and Hatfield commenced operations on 2 August 2011.

Reconciliation road, a road linking Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument was opened in 2011.

The City of Tshwane Municipality becomes one of the largest municipalities in the world by land size after the incorporation of  the Metsweding District Municipality.

Having over 300 000 students, UNISA becomes one of the world’s mega universities.

The Centurion Aerospace Village is established in Centurion.

Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation announced that the SKA telescope would be split between Africa and Australia. Tricom Structures, a Pretoria-based company is manufacturing a 25-ton backup structure for MeerKAT.
New bank notes

The South African Reserve Bank, located in Pretoria, issued new banknotes bearing the face of former President Nelson Mandela.

South African won six medals at the London Olympics. Medals went to Cameron van der Burgh (gold) and Roeland Schoeman (bronze) whom are both born in Pretoria while Caster Semenya (silver) and Bridgitte Hartley (bronze) are both University of Pretoria alumni.

Oscar Pistorius shot girlfriend on Valentines day.

USA President Obama in State Visit to Pretoria.

Nelson Mandela hospitalised for about 2 months in Arcadia, Pretoria.

Tshwane Mayor launch the ambitious Tshwane 2055 vision for the city.

Pretoria grieved and honoured Nelson Mandela, who passed away on 5 December 2013. More than hundred heads of state came to Pretoria to pay their respects. His body lay in state for three days in Pretoria and was visited by more than 100 000 people at the Union Buildings. The Mandela Statue was unveiled on 16 December 2013.
The Mandela Statue at the Union Buildings 
The people of Pretoria took part in South Africa’s fifth democratic elections on 7 May 2014.

The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius takes place at the Pretoria High Court from 3 March to 8 August. On 12 September he was foun not guilty of murder but guilty of culpable homicide.

On 4 August Pretoria felt a tremor of a 5.5-Magnitude earthquake that hit central South Africa.

Red Bull X-fighters had their World Tour 2014 Final in Pretoria, at the Union Buildings on 23 August. It’s one of the biggest and most respected freestyle motocross tours on the planet.

Red Bull X-fighters at the Union Buildings