The Huguenot Monument and Museum Franschhoek, Cape Winelands
The French Huguenots emigrated to South Africa to escape religious persecution in France, and mainly arrived at the Cape between 1687 and 1689.
They brought with them a culture that is interwoven into every aspect of South African life, from their names (De Toit, De Lange and many others), to viticulture (vineyards), agriculture and cuisine.
This contribution to our lifestyle has been honoured at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek, depicting the history of the Huguenots before and after their arrival at the Cape of Good Hope.
The classic, elegant monument was designed by J.C. Jongens, and inaugurated by Dr A J van der Merwe on April 17, 1948.
The three lofty arches is a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Above it the Sun of Righteousness shines, and above that the Cross, as symbol of Christian faith, is mounted.
The central female figure, created by Coert Steynberg, personifies religious freedom with a bible in her one hand and broken chain in the other. She is casting off her cloak of oppression and her position on top of the globe shows her spiritual freedom. The fleur-de-lis on her robe represents a noble spirit and character. Her gaze is fixed on a vision of good things to come.
The water pond, reflecting the colonnade behind it, expresses the undisturbed tranquillity of mind and spiritual peace the Huguenots experienced after much conflict and strife.
The southern tip of the globe shows the symbols of their religion (the Bible), art and culture (the harp), the agriculture and viticulture (the sheaf of corn and grape vine) and industry (spinning wheel).
Next door to the monument is the Huguenot Museum. Originally the elegant 18th century home of Baron Willem Ferdinand van Reede van Oudtshoorn, erected around 1791 in Cape Town, it was demolished in 1954 against all attempts to save it. In 1957 it was agreed to rebuild it in Franschhoek, next door to the Huguenot Monument, and use it as a Huguenot Museum. Each brick was numbered, and after transporting it 70 km to Franschhoek, was replaced exactly. It is believed that the architect was the Frenchman Louis Michel Thibault, and that the decorations on the building were done by the well-known sculptor Anton Anreith.
The Memorial Museum elaborates on the history of the French Huguenots who settled in the Cape, and especially in the Franschhoek valley. On exhibition are the various tools they used to make wine, the clothes they wore, and the everyday utensils they used, which illustrate the life of the Huguenots at the Cape of Good Hope.
Hours: Mon-Sat: 09:00 – 17:00: Sun: 14:00 – 17:00: Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Tel: +27 21 8762532: Email: Cnr Main Road and Lampbrecht Street, Franschhoek.
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