A Voortrekker Display

The last time I was in South Africa, I took my children to see a monument I had seen many times as a school-going child.

In front of the Voortrekker Monument, and the first flight of stairs I climbed to get to the top. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
In front of the Voortrekker Monument, and the first flight of stairs I climbed to get to the top. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

I have posted on this unusual monument before (the architectural highlights, the voortrekker’s wagon, its unique characteristics, and its windows). In this post, I want to share with you some of the interesting displays that have been laid out for visitors to see in the basement of the building.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Voortrekker dolls. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My children were impressed by the toys the voortrekker children used to play with. The girls used to play with hand-made dolls (shown above) and the boys used to take the jaw bones and teeth of animals that had been killed and pretend they were wagons and oxen (shown below).

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Voortrekker boys’ toys. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

In the days of the voortrekkers, people used to use gunpowder in their guns. Hollowed out horns were used to store the gunpowder in. These were slung over the hunter’s shoulder.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Holders for gu powder. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Even the guns they used were a lot different from what we see today:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Voortrekker guns. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The one display case held an array of interesting objects. The wood was all hand carved and the objects looked more unique than those we find today. Here is a shaving kit used by the men:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Decorated shaving kit. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Some embroidery samplers were laid out to show the women’s skill at sewing;

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An embroidery sampler. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Each family would have a Bible from which they would read every night:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Family Bible. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

In the front of each Bible, the family tree would be inserted:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Family Tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The writing implements they used to use were a quill and ink. It is amazing how beautiful the penmanship was:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Writing implements. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Clothes during that time were handmade. Christening dresses were used more than once within a family:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Handmade christening dress. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Hats and personal items were uniquely embroidered:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Needle book with pins and thread. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The voortrekker women wore hats that protected their face and neck from the sun:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Voortrekker women hats. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

There was a display up showing us what the men and women wore during that time. My picture is a little fuzzy as the lighting in the basement is not very bright. The picture, however, does give you an idea of the clothes they wore. The ones pictured here would have been their Sunday best – the clothing they would have worn to go to church.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Voortrekker clothing. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The men wore shoes (veldskoene) made from the hide of the animals they had killed for food.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Veldskoene. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

On display was also a Zulu shield, assegai (spear) and animal hide that the warriors would use in battle.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Zulu warrior’s kit. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

We enjoyed strolling around in the basement and looking at these items. They helped to give us a sense of who the voortrekkers were. My children enjoyed their mini history lesson and came out of the monument asking many questions about the past.

Do you enjoy visiting displays of the past?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was created as a response to a comment made by Belinda at Busy Mind Thinking on one of my Voortrekker Monument posts. The weekly photo challenge at WordPress encouraged me to complete the post that had been sitting in my draft box.)

 

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54 thoughts on “A Voortrekker Display

  1. These are incredible! And the detail!!! I have to read it again as I wanted to browse through when I received your message. Thank you for sharing history and your family memories with me of adventure. Huge hugs. May I have permission to re-blog this?

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    1. You may reblog this Belinda – it shows me I have been successful in taking you on my journey with me. I am glad you enjoyed the visit. I will think of other places I can take you to see 🙂

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  2. The thing I’m most enjoying about this week’s challenge is the view of so many different monuments from all over the world. I love that you are passing the respect for the past on to your children also Colline. Nicely done.

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    1. I am enjoying all the monument visiting too Tina. I have seen views of places I never knew existed.
      I like sharing what I know of the past with my children. And visiting museums, etc, shows them that knowledge can be learned from not only books.

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  3. I can see why your children were fascinated with this place. What a great collection of fabulous items to stimulate a child’s imagination. I adore that leather cover on that Bible.

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  4. I enjoyed every bit of this post and the photos. And how you captioned each one of them makes it more than just beautiful photos to look at. It’s one whole storybook. Thank you for sharing this Colline.

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  5. How awesome! I learned much soaking up this post. and I like getting to know more about “period pieces” and antiques and so as I looked at the little labels next to some times it was really educational. also, I agree – the penmanship is exquisite!
    fun post – and love the photo of the monument and the teacher! 🙂

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    1. That photo of me was taken especially to share with my blogger friends 🙂
      I appreciate when displays have labels and explanations next to them – it adds to the visit, I think, and you come away from the visit richer in knowledge.

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  6. There was no such thing as ‘idle time’ back then, was there, Colline? Constant sewing, carving, making- no TV distractions. A beautiful life in many respects, but not easy. You have to admire their ingenuity and accomplishment. A lovely share- thank you! 🙂

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    1. Definitely not. Take the sewing for example: each item of clothing was made by hand with fine stitches. Even their wagons were made by hand. I think that their life back then was a lot healthier than ours because they were so physical.

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  7. This is just the kind of museum I love . An insight to peoples lives and their personal belongings beautifully displayed. So much to look at in your post Colline it’s a real delight .

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    1. I was a bit worried that there were too many photos – but I was unable to discard any because the objects are interesting. I am glad to learn that you enjoyed looking at each one.

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    1. Every time we are able to visit, we try to show them something of the country they were born in. It is important, I think, that they know. This is something they would not learn at the school they attend.

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  8. Thanks for an interesting tour. I’ve never seen bones being used for toys in that way, and everything looks to be in such good condition, even though it’s quite old.

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  9. Ok, so that was mega cool. Seeing things from another country/world is eye opening. I enjoy intricate details on things and found the shaving kit and was just awed. Thank you again for sharing your world with us. I feel like I am there as well.

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  10. Thanks, Colline, for taking us back to the monument. I find this kind of thing very interesting and am amazed to see how similar some of these artifacts are to those used by our own pioneers.

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      1. They were from all over, Colline, some having been in the US for generations, while others came mostly from Europe. Cheap, if not free, land was the lure initially and then the California Gold Rush hit in 1849. People flocked to our West Coast. There were a few other smaller “rushes”, drawing people to Alaska and Nevada, for example. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed and that was it. People left the crowded East Coast cities for the wide open West, much to the despair of the Native peoples.

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    1. They probably never thought that those after them would appreciate what they saw as everyday objects. I know I don’t keep things, never thinking they may become antiques.

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