National Women’s Memorial

National Women’s Memorial

Aerial Footage of the National Women's Memorial in Bloemfontein South Africa The National Women’s Memorial is situated in Monument Avenue in the southern neighbourhood Faunasig, Bloemfontein. The monument is on the same grounds as the Anglo-Boer War Museum. The big open spaces of untamed grassland that surround the terrain of the National Women’s Memorial represents the untamed Free State fields and landscape from the time of the Anglo-Boer War.The Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902)One of the most significant events in the history of South Africa was the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 – 1902. Although the protagonists were Britain and the the two Boer Republics, the population of South Africa as a whole became embroiled in the war either directly or indirectly.President Steyn’s callPresident Marthinus Theunis Steyn envisioned the monument to be established in memory of all the women and children that died in the concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War.The 1907 conferenceIn February, 1907, the first conference to establish such a monument was held in Bloemfontein. It was decided that R20,000 should be raised to erect a monument.FundingThe impoverished Afrikaner nation reacted with enthusiasm in spite of the scarce financial resources at their disposal. The full amount required was raised over 4 years with small contributions from across the country.Unveiling of the monumentOn 16 December 1913 the Women’s Memorial, in the presence of more than 20 000 people, was unveiled by Mrs. Steyn, wife of former President M.T. Steyn. Emily Hobhouse travelled from England especially for the event, despite resistance in Britain. Unfortunately, she could not travel further than Beaufort West as a result of her poor health at the time. Her address was read by Charles Fichardt, an esteemed businessman from Bloemfontein and member of the first National Women’s Memorial commission. vrouemonument.co.za

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