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FFreedom Park on Salvokop Hill outside Pretoria commemorates all those South Africans who gave everything in the struggle to end apartheid. It is a multifaceted heritage precinct that consists of a series of memorial sites, linked by the common themes of freedom and human rights.
The ambitious project remains ongoing since opening to the public in 2007, and 5 sites – //hapo, Moshate, S'khumbuto, Uitspanplek, and Isivivane – can be visited. Another 2 sites – Tiva and Vhuawelo – and the Pan-African Archives are still to be completed.
Freedom Park’s purposeful layout, in a prime spot in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, creatively combines architectural elements with symbols drawn from the breadth of South African culture to reinterpret and retell the country’s history, beginning with the geological origins of southern Africa 3.6-billion years ago.
This Pretoria heritage site represents symbolic reparation for previous conflicts in the history of South Africa, with the intention that past myths and prejudices that have distorted South Africa’s cultural heritage can dispelled, and forgiveness and healing made possible.
Take the guided tour to gain a better understanding of the complex historical, ideological, and spiritual themes couched in the architecture. There are 5 themes that run through all the park’s exhibits: culture, heritage, history, indigenous knowledge and spirituality.
It’s no coincidence that Freedom Park overlooks the Voortrekker Monument, Unisa University, the formerly ‘white’ city of Pretoria nestled in the great conurbation of Tshwane, and vast swathes of undeveloped African horizon, for the site’s designers desire that visitors should ‘see’ South African history in a whole new way.
Freedom Park’s major element is S’khumbuto. The 6-part memorial consists of the Wall of Names (a massive 700m-long structure that records the names of the many lives lost in the 8 major conflicts that shaped South Africa), an amphitheatre, a sanctuary, an eternal flame, the Gallery of Leaders (role models whose leadership has been pivotal in the struggle for human rights and freedom) and finally, embracing it all, the semicircle of 200 reeds.
Signifying the rebirth of South Africa as a nation, the reeds are Freedom Park’s most recognisable feature, visible from almost anywhere in Pretoria.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)12 336 4000
How to get here
From Johannesburg, take the M1 north to Pretoria. The M1 becomes the N1. Continue to Kgosi Mampuru Street/Pretoria Main Road. Turn right into Skietpoort Avenue.
Best time to visit
Freedom Park is open daily. Public tours take place at 9am, 12pm and 3pm. The complex is closed to the general public during VIP delegation visits, so it’s advisable to telephone ahead.
Around the area
Nearby is the Voortrekker Monument and the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.
Length of stay
A tour of Freedom Park takes approximately 2 hours.
What to pack
Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes, as the tour is outdoors and involves walking. Bring your own bottled water and sun protection.