Union Buildings

I regularly exercise in the Union Buildings gardens and since 2017 I have been advising the Department of Public Works of water leaks and other maintenance issues, most of which were dealt with promptly by Bennitto Motitswe, but since his transfer, things have gotten much worse. I sent a comprehensive list of issues to the Department in May 2019, along with photos. Apart from a water leak repair and a significant improvement in the maintenance of the gardens themselves, none of the other more serious issues I raised have been dealt with.

The following is an extract from a paper by Art Historian Professor Alexander Duffey in which he explores the many artists who contributed in one way or another to establish the Union Buildings as an important icon, not only of Pretoria, but also South Africa. These artists can be grouped into two distinct categories: those who contributed directly to the embellishment of the buildings and their surroundings and those who made representations of the buildings and their surroundings.

In the wonderful article below, Raymond Smith takes the reader on a journey to six iconic sites in Pretoria: the Union Buildings, Church Square, Unisa, Freedom Park, //hapo Museum and Marabastad. He describes the experience as a 'peripatetic walk contemplating diversity, dislocation, overlap and cohesion within an urban environment strained under its conflicting past, yet bravely attempting to respond to contemporary demands with varying degrees of success'.

The Anglo-Boer (1900-1902) Vereeniging Peace Agreement document ending the war between the Boers and the British was signed at Pretoria’s gracious Melrose House on 31 May 1902 and formally announced on 2 June 1902 in front of the Raadzaal, Pretoria. This again put the whole country under the British rule. Alfred Milner, the High Commissioner for South Africa and Governor of Transvaal and Orange River Colony was responsible for the design and execution of the policy of South Africa until 1905.

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