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The Karel Landman monument

Updated on July 22, 2016

Overview

To go to the Karel Landman monument you need to travel about 14 km on the road from Alexandria to Port Elizabeth where you turn off to the right to go to Kolrand and travel a further 3 km on a dirt road . There on your left , on top of a hill where you can see as far as the Bushmansriver and even Paterson , is the monument , built by the architect Gerard Moerdyk , the same architect that designed the Voortrekker monument , and the builders, the Lupini brothers on the orders of both the Alexandria and Paterson communities, for the sole reason that inhabitants of both these towns went or trekked together with the Karel Landman trek to Natalia as it was called during that time. The monument is built in the form of a globe with a oxwagon drawcommunities of oxen over South Africa . The wagon and oxen symbolizes the Great Trek, “ Groot Trek “ of the 1830’s where a lot of people trekked to the interior looking for a better future . The work on both the oxen and oxwagon was done by Coert Steynburg .

Landman monument

The Karel Landman monument at Kolrand , Alexandria
The Karel Landman monument at Kolrand , Alexandria

History

Gerard Moerdyk was approached for the design which was approved by the councils of Alexandria and Paterson in May of 1939, although the granite plinth had already been inaugurated on 16 December 1938. The concrete and terrazzo monument was manufactured by Lupini Brothers in Johannesburg at the cost of £470 (R940 at the time). The Karel Landman monument was unveiled on 16 December of that year by the pastor Willem Adolf Landman , descendant of Karel Pieter Landman . The monument was build on a piece of land donated by Johannes Abraham Scheepers from the farm Kolrand . Legend has it that the communities of Alexandria and Paterson could not agree which town should 'host' the monument, so it was placed on this koppie halfway between the two towns and both towns worked together on making the plans for the monument . The monument was erected in the memory of the trek leader Karel Pieter Landman who led a trek of 39 families (about 180 persons plus their servants )from Alexandria and Paterson to Natal , it was the largest trek party from the ward of Olifantshoek in Uitenhage to trek to Natal . Karel Landman and his trek was one of the last to go north during the epic “ Groot Trek “ , he was also one of the lesser known trekkers , not even a photo of him was ever found . The Landman trek started at the end of October 1837 and arrived in Natal during March 1838 , just in time to take part in the “Vlugkommando” after the brutal killing of Piet Retief and his men at the hands of Zulu king Dingaan and his impi’s . Landman was second in command at the” Slag van Bloedrivier” where the Zulu’s was defeated . Here on 16 December 1838 , the “boere” under pastor Sarel Cilliers prayed to the Lord and promised that if they won they would erect a church and the day would be remembered and celebrated every year on the day by their descendants . That promise was one of the reasons why the monument was built , another was because this was the area Landman lived and farmed in , on the farm Melkhouteboom in the Alexandria district . He trekked from here with his family and friends and the monument was built as a memorial to him and what he accomplished in Natal .

Today

On the 16th of December, every year , as promised , inhabitants of Alexandria and Paterson and people from even further along come to the monument to acknowledge the promise that was made on that fateful day by our ancestors . After the hoisting of the Natal flag , a church sermon and singing of songs , everybody move out to braai under the trees and spend time together with family and friends for the rest of the day . The facilities at the monument had been upgraded in the last few years and the monument council worked very hard to make the day very special and enjoyable for everyone attending this special day . The numbers of attendees has been climbing higher each year and 16 December became a very celebrated day again in this district . It is heart warming not to only see the older generation attend such an event but seeing younger people and teenagers being interested in the history of the town and its people .

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