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Heritage Sites On Route



The Union Buildings

  • These buildings were designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed
    in 1913 to house the then new government of the Union of South Africa. 

  • There are a number of memorials at the Union Buildings, such as the Delville Wood War Memorial, the memorial to World War II, as well as statues of Generals Louis Botha, JBM Hertzog and Jan Smuts.

  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated here as the first black and democratically elected president of South Africa on 10 May 1994. 

  • On 16 December 2013 on the Day of Reconciliation, a nine-meter tall
    bronze statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the Union Buildings.


Mediclinic Heart Hospital.

  • Nelson Mandela was transferred from the Military Hospital to this hospital in his final year before going to his family home, where he passed on.


Lilian Ngoyi Square.

  • Originally this site was called the Market Square.

  • The Market Hall, where the trial of the Jameson Raid took place in 1896, was situated on this site.

  • The square was later known as Strijdom Square, named after the former state President, J.G. Strijdom. 

  • The Living Women’s Monument was built on the square. The square has been renamed the Lillian Ngoyi Square.

  • Lillian Ngoyi was a South African anti-apartheid activist. She was one of the four women who led the march on 27 October 1955 &9 August 1956 at the Union Buildings in which 20000 women marched in protest to the Pass Laws of 1950 including Mam Sophie de Bruin who is the only surviving leader of the marches.


Compol Building.

  • The Compol Building in Pretorius Street, built in the 1890s, is one of Pretoria’s oldest buildings.

  • The building was initially known as the New Government Buildings.

  • Since 1913 various sections of the police have occupied parts of the building.

  • In 1933, the Deputy Commissioner of the Transvaal Division, including the Crime Investigation Department (CID), moved into the building and occupied the ground floor which was previously occupied by the staff of the Deeds Office and the Surveyor-General.

  • Early in 1934, the SAP moved into all four floors of the Compol Building. This included the Crime Investigation Department, Detective unit, Ballistics and Records Section as well as the financial sections.

  • The name of the building was subsequently changed on 1 April 1934 from the New Government Buildings to the South African Police Headquarters.

  • Many activists who were interrogated here for hours on end by the Police, including people like Winnie Madikizela, Princess Madikizela (Sister of Winnie), Mary Moodley, NichodemusKgoathe, Phillip Golding, Allan Brooks, Laloo Chiba, and many more.


Church Street Bomb Blast.

  • The Church Street bombing was a car bomb attack on Friday, 20 May 1983 by Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), in Pretoria.

  • The bomb exploded on Church Street at 4:30 pm which killed 19 people and wounded 217.


Ga Mothle building.


  • The site was first developed in 1868 when Paul Kruger built his house.

  • In 1896 the ZAR Government purchased the property for the Police Head Quarters.

  • During the time that it was used as a police station, the outbuildings which included the cells, was built.

  • In the 1900’s the two buildings were used as the Native Affairs where passes were issued to the local black population.

  • In 1930 the Public Works Department was commissioned to build new offices for the Native Commission.

  • The existing building was in a bad state and was demolished to make way for a new one.

  • The outbuildings and cells were not demolished.

  • In 1932, the building as we know it today, was built for the Native Commissioner.
    During the 1950’s, GaMohle became the “Bantu Commissioner’s Office Building.”

  • From 1950 – 1980 the Pass Laws were enforced at GaMohle.

  • The building had a strong influence on the lives of the people from the local township.

  • In 1980 the building was allocated to the SA Police’s Murder & Robbery squad.


Kgosi Mampuru Prison.

  • The gallows at Kgosi Mampuru Prison (Pretoria Central Prison) - where offenders were executed.

  • From 1907 to 1989 - when a moratorium was placed on the death penalty, 4 000 prisoners were executed of which 134 were political activists, including apartheid struggle icon Solomon Mahlangu.

  • The gallows were dismantled in 1996 after the Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty, has been refurbished and converted into a museum.

  • The first was Dorethea Kraft (Van Der Merwe) who was hanged in 1921 for assisting in the bludgeoning to death of her former lover.

  • The last woman to be hanged in South Africa was Sandra Smith, who together with her lover knifed to death a young girl they had befriended.


The Palace of Justice.

  • During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 the uncompleted building was used as a military hospital for British troops.

  • It was only after the war that the work was completed and the building became the home of the Supreme Court of the Transvaal.

  • The Rivonia Treason Trial in 1964 after which sentences of life imprisonment have been pronounced on Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Goven Mbeki, Dennis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni, can be seen as the most prominent trial that has taken place at the Palace of Justice during the Struggle history.


The Old Synagogue.

  • The Synagogue (consecrated in 1898) was the first in the city.

  • In 1952, the synagogue was expropriated by the government for the purpose of erecting a new Supreme Court. Once expropriated, the government converted into a "special Supreme Court" to be used specifically "for cases relating to the security situation, the activities of the black opposition movements and socialist/communist alliances."

  • The following excerpt is from the Pretoria Jewish Chronicle of October 1998 (courtesy of Terrence Davis):

  • "From August 1, 1958 to March 29, 1961, the treason trial of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and 26 others was held at the Old Synagogue.

  • On March 29, 1961, all the accused were acquitted and there were 'wild scenes of euphoria outside the synagogue", according to the Public Works report. 'The second appearance of Nelson Mandela in the Old Synagogue was as historic as the treason trial.

  • From October 22 to November 7, 1962, Mr. Mandela was again on trial in the Old Synagogue.

  • On November 7, Mr. Mandela was sentenced to a total of five years in prison with hard labour, three years for incitement to strike and two for leaving the country without travel documents.

  • In 1963, while serving the sentence handed down in the Old Synagogue, Mr. Mandela appeared at the Rivonia Trial.

  • From November 14 to December 2, 1977, the inquest into the death of Steve Biko was held in the Old Synagogue."


The Old Munitoria Building – Tshwane House

  • After South Africa became democratic, the Truth and Reconciliation tribunal was established in order to rebuild the nation.

  • The Munitoriabuilding became the hub of the Truth and Reconciliation.

  • A Fire destroyed the West wing of the building on the evening of 04 March 1997, after one of the TRC sittings for the amnesty hearings for five former security policemen, had taken place at the building the same day.

  • The other fire, at the SA Perm building, began almost simultaneously.

  • The building was demolished to make way for the new Tshwane House presently on the site.


Meeting Point of the 1955 & 1956 Women’s Marches.

  • The 1955March, which was a Transvaal March, started here and the women marched up the lawns to the Union Buildings. There were about 3000 women who attended this March.

  • The 1956March was a National March where about 20000 women of all races marched from this point up the lawns to the Union Buildings.

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