Pretoria is the third of the South African cities featured on this Trip Down Memory Lane section of our trip. V lived 9 months in this city in 1994 and on a sunny May morning, walked from his apartment in Arcadia to the Union Buildings for Mandela's inauguration as President of South Africa. M spent a few months in South Africa at that time splitting her time between Durban and Pretoria.
Our walking tour of Pretoria did not follow any guideline laid down by the guidebooks. It was guided by memory. The long 7km walk from Hatfield, took us through the leafy Arcadia neighborhood (dotted with many embassies, high commissions and consulates), along Church Street (now renamed to Stanza Bopape Street) for our first big stop at the Union Buildings. The lawns were empty and V tried to sit down near the spot he had occupied that morning 19 years ago among a large throng. The views from the buildings were unchanged, but one can no longer climb to the top of the hill behind the buildings.
We managed to get to the apartment complex we lived in 1994 and found it to be quite unchanged in appearance though it went by a different name now. We attempted to re-trace the long walk from there to the city center trying to get to a couple of favorite spots, a pair of restaurants, a cinema complex and the state theatre. The restaurants and cinema complex were gone. The central business district seemed to be much more crowded during the day than in 1994. The most dominant sound was the incessant honking of minivan taxis (they were called Black Taxis back in the day and only operated outside the city centre) looking for passengers.
Several of the city streets had new names. The street signs displayed both names with the old name crossed out by a red line. It would be interesting to see how long the old names stay. The city's dead center, Church Square, still has the Paul Kruger statue with the Afrikaaner heroes underneath him. It did not seem to us that they have any place in the minds of the new South Africans who occupy the park today.
Google Maps Link
That was a long time ago. Had time flowed by so fast ???
Those were the heady days of South Africa. From , on Apr 4, 2013 at 12:08PM