Tag Archives: History

Baldinelli Fever


I am walking through the Van Erkom Arcade, taking a short cut from Schoeman Street via Pretorius Street, on my way to Church Square. The mosaic on the Eastern wall, halts me in my tracks. The sheer size of it takes my breath away. Could be 30 m x 2m, I am thinking.  Abstract animals […]

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Welcome to Zwartkoppies


The owner of this estate can best  be described as a total workaholic, business visionary, incurable optimist, master lobbyist, shrewd operator and survivor extraodinaire. Are you thinking Donald Trump ? Or Warren Buffet? Or Sir Alan Sugar? No. His name was Sammy Marks. And long before those business buzz words of the 20th centuary, he […]

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Civic Matters


The Pretoria City Hall was built to celebrate Pretoria’s city status, attained in 1931. Designed by FG McIntosh and John Lockwood Hall, this classical Italian style building has charmed residents and visitors alike since 1935. Soaring 47 meters into the Highveld sky, the clock tower boasts a careillon of 32 bells, donated by George Heys, […]

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The Big House


As I enter the house in Doornkloof, it is hard to imagine that a pre-eminent Statesman had lived here. All of 40 odd years. Nothing fancy. A house made of wood and steel, strikingly unpretentious. And must have been pretty hot in Summer and pretty cold in Winter. Only the big black Cadilac and the […]

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Chasing the Cantatores


No, they were not in the cast of the Sopranos. The cousins were part of the approximately 90 000 Italian Prisoners of War who were imprisoned  in South Africa from 1941 – 1947. And the two of them, worked om my Grandpa’s farm in the Laingsburg district. I decided to try and find  some official trace of Francesco […]

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Hidden Gem


In the Post Office building on historic Church Square in Pretoria, resides a very mysterious frieze. Rather unobtrusively placed in the portico of the building’s Eastern entrance, the golden couple has been the subject of much speculation. As they are anything but unobtrusive !! The creator of the naked couple is renowned sculptor Anton Van Wouw […]

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Diamond Hill aka Donkerhoek


Boer General Louis Botha probably wrote in his diary…11th of June 1900…it’s a week after the fall of Pretoria…bitterly cold Monday morning…we are hidden in the hills at Donkerhoek…ready for battle… Britain’s Lord Roberts  probably wrote in his diary…11th of … Continue reading

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