The religious statement of the Voortrekker Monument as a site of Afrikaner memory : origin, composition and reception

22 Oct 2019

The religious statement made by the Voortrekker Monument is part and parcel of its meaning and symbolism. This aspect of its composition and intention has not yet been submitted to thorough theological-critical investigation and scrutiny. Stepping into the gap, this article traces the religious intention and intonation of the Monument. The first part of the article entails the history of the Moerdyk design, based on antique Egyptian religious architecture. Then a discussion of the way in which the architect blended his (Egyptian) design with the religious spirituality and nationalism of the Afrikaner is presented. The last section deals with the altar text in the heart of the building: ‘We for thee, South Africa’. This secular text constitutes the religious statement of the memorial. Care should therefore be taken to embed the symbolism and meaning of the building in the Christian faith or the so-called Calvinism of the Afrikaner. The engagement with the Monument’s religious statement revealed a sacrificed religion trapped in a still remarkable commemorative building.