Scott Balson's trip to South Africa -
5th September 2006 - Pietersburg

Perth : Johannesburg : Pretoria : Pietersburg : Pilgrim's Rest : Ladysmith : Champagne Castle : Estcourt : Durban : Ixopo
Kokstad : Port Elizabeth : Plettenburg Bay : Cape Town : Victoria West : Griquatown : Mafikeng : Johannesburg : Perth

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Left Pretoria at about 9.30am and started my northern route to Pietersburg - the region the boers held out in long after the British defeated them in Pretoria. Earlier, in the 1830s, Louis Trichardt had come to this region and his pioneering role as one of four recognised Voortrekker leaders was "immortalised" by a monument which has now been ploughed into the ground by the Theba Mbeki Government despite the fact that it is listed on most tourist maps.

Image right: The remains of the Louis Trichardt monument lie ploughed into the ground.

The road north - 270km - was uneventful - the highveld vegetation can be seen in the images below.

The once impenetrable boer city was now, like Johannesburg and Pretoria, decidedly black in the town centre I saw very few whites and hundreds of blacks. The siege mentality has spread - but there was another disease I came across. The disease was indifference. I was amazed by the dismissive attitude by the modern generation of Afrikaners living here. Their only complaint was that the town's name had been changed to Polokwane. As one of the residents confided you cannot change your name without major issues - and any city faces the same challenges.

On arrival at the Holiday Inn the all black staff had succeeded in losing my confirmed booking made six months ago in a hotel that was now "full". It took lots of persistence to squeeze a room that was mine out from the staff - but eventually they relented.

Today was a defining today for me - I realise now that the Afrikaner is going to go the same way as the Griqua as they also become "Children of the Mist". I asked several Afrikaners - a young boy of 15, a man in his 30s and a lady in her 50s where Louis Trichardt's monument was - no one knew - or had even heard of it... I was gobsmacked. When I drove out on the N1 road north to Messina (the border with Zimbabwe) I asked at a small pub in which three Afrikaner men drank beer. They told me it had been knocked down but the remains could be seen - near an African fruit vendor's stand on the side of the road. Their reaction to its destruction was one of indifference.

This is the furthest north that I travel  from here, under 200km from the border of Zimbabwe, tomorrow I move south east to Pilgrims Rest... based on what I have seen so far the boer history will be gone. I hope I am mistaken. 

Image right: Two love birds at the bird park at Pietersburg

In the afternoon I visited the excellent bird and snake park just outside Pietersburg on the road to Pretoria - images below, and from there to the Meropa Casino where I saw the disturbing reality of the new evolving nation. The Casino, another Sol Kerzner enterprise, was filled with black gamblers. While eating dinner I watched as an African woman be her week's wages away on a slot machine. Before my dinner was over she was in tears when she realised what she had done and a security guard ushered her out so that there would be no scene.

Welcome to the new South Africa.

On the road to Pietersburg

Crosses = white farm murders

The town of Pietersburg - a museum which is closed (permanently) for renovations... it is now empty but for a couple of old items and native pots.

Like Pretoria it has gone very black and few whites are to be seen.

The Holiday Inn

Streets of

Pietersburg

The Nederlandse Gereformeerde
Kerk

The Museum which never opens

The only item of value in the
museum

The road north to Zimbabwe - and Louis Trichardt's flattened monument.

On the road to Pretoria, just out of Pietersburg, is an excellent bird and reptile farm....  

Louis Trichardt's Monument

Pietersburg today

Great Craft shop

Boomslang

This Anaconda is about 3m

Kerzner's Casino - serves great

steaks - a great money spinner

 

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