Heroes Acre in Pretoria
Heroes Acre in Pretoria is a special place that honours those who have contributed significantly in one way or the other to their country.
The Anglo Boer war lasted from 1899 to 1902. There are grave sites of Boers who died in concentration camps as well as British and Dutch soldiers who fought in the war.
You’ll find many military headstones in the cemetery, many which have the simple inscription on them – ‘For King & Empire Here Lies a British Soldier.’
The ‘Inner Sanctum’ of Church Street Cemetery
Church Street, Pretoria, is one of the longest streets in the world. This is where you find Church Street Cemetery and Heroes Acre in Pretoria.
The cemetery is actually located just west of the CBD on the extension of Church Street with the main entrance in DF Malan Drive.
Within the cemetery, in the middle, you’ll find Heroes Acre.
It is the burial place of a host of historical figures. A simple silver cross in the Helder Akker are a distinct aspect which mark grave sites in this cemetery.
An Illustrious Gallery of those who Made a Mark
In Heroes Acre in Pretoria you’ll find the graves of
- Paul Kruger
- General Louis Botha the 1st Prime Minister of South Africa
- Hendrik Verwoerd, South Africa’s notorious 7th Prime Minister
- Andries Pretorius.
General Andries Pretorius was in fact reburied in the cemetery in 1891 and was known as the ‘eerste held wat in die akker begrawe is’.
The intriguing Eugene Marais who was a poet, lawyer and writer as well as Breaker Morant are buried here.
Breaker Morant was an Anglo Australian drover and military officer who was arrested and court martialled for war crimes and executed in Pretoria.
The city used to receive Australian tourists who would visit the grave but vandalism and crime have made it unsafe to visit the cemetery and lots of fascinating historical artifacts with real value have been wrenched off.
It is ironic that most of the gates to the cemetery are locked, yet much of the metal fencing has been stolen so you can just simply step right in to this bleak, forlorn cemetery.
In the ‘new South Africa’, it is evident that Heroes’ Acre and what it represents is a joke, and the cemetery is used as a public toilet.
Heroes Acre in Pretoria – If Only…
Heroes’ Acre or Die Helder Akker was established in 1867. If it were well maintained and safe, it would be a most fascinating place to visit and to imagine the lives of the illustrious and prominent citizens and public figures buried here.
Heroes’ Acre in Pretoria is actually a heritage site. This means that no-one can visit the actual ‘inner sanctum’ of the Church Street Cemetery without a permit issued by the South African Heritage Resource Agency or a provincial heritage resources authority.
Nobody may destroy, damage or exhume the graves here, but even though it is protected, there is ongoing vandalism at the cemetery.
Heroes’ Acre could be a thrilling place to browse awhile and relive history, but today its not not exactly a tourist attraction, even for staunch Afrikaners whose heroes were laid to rest here.
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