Our first stop on the tour of Pretoria was the Voortrekker monument, a monolith Cenotaph commemorating the Dutch pioneers who carried the "torch of civilization" into the "dark heart of Africa."
This structure struck me as very strange, it seemed to be a monument to a people who gave everything for their ideals and freedom at the expense of the ideals and freedom of the Zulu nation. The turning point of this pioneering endeavor was The battle of Blood River where 500 Voortrekkers decimated the Zulu army of 10-15,000. In the end, the best we can hope is to learn from history and never repeat it. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."http://www.voortrekkermon.org.za/
From there we visited the Cultural History Museum, which had a great display of archaeological ceramic figures of the Sans people. They also had an incredible collection of cultural artifacts from all over the world, my particular favorite was a collection of Japanese porcelain dolls. I loved the detail of their costumes and the inset glass eyes. Exit through the Gift Shop, which was surprisingly interesting! Instead of the normal mass manufactured second rate magnets and copies one normally expects of a US museum, there were walls of real craft, wood, fabric, beads, people sitting outside making the objects displayed within. I purchased a beautiful bowl woven of colorful telephone wire. (a driver later told us telephone wire theft has become rampant due to their popularity in the tourism industry, I prefer to believe my bowl was gathered from legitimate recycled material sources)
The last stop for this day was the Union Buildings, we had not learned anything about the riots and apartheid history at this time so we were mostly distracted by the vendors peddling craft on the sidewalk in front of the Parliament halls.