Monday, June 30, 2008

Jakaranda City

Pretoria is often called the 'Jakaranda' city by virtue of the thousands of Jakaranda trees that grace it's streets. The tree's flowers blossom in October and bathe the city in a cloak of purple. The city looks absolutely beautiful during early summer, especially when viewed from the hill tops, under the blanket of purple Jakarandas.

The Jakaranda is not indigenous to South Africa. It originates from Brazil and was brought to Pretoria in the early 20 th century and planted along the streets of the inner city. It does appear in many parts of the surrounding areas of Tshwane (the greater metropolitan area) including Johannesburg. It is now considered an invader (non indigenous) plant and legislation prohibits the distribution and planting of the trees in South Africa. Trees that are removed are not replaced.

This photo was taken looking up Bourke street in Mukkleneuk with the Telkom communications tower rising above the trees. I often used to run up this street which rises steeply near the top and passes over into Groenkloof.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oom Paul

Paul Kruger majestically graces Church square in the centre of Pretoria. One of the few statues in Pretoria. Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger was born in 1825 and served as president of the Transvaal Republic from 1883 to 1900. With the discovery of gold in Johannesburg in 1886, which subsequently brought thousands of Uitlanders (foreigners), mostly British, to the Republic. This led to serious conflicts of interest between Britain and the Boers leading to the Anglo Boer war which broke out in 1899. This ultimately lead to "Oom (uncle) Paul" fleeing the country and into exile in Europe.