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Sedibeng is situated in the South Eastern Gauteng, approximately 60 km from Johannesburg, along the scenic Vaal, Klip, and Suikerbos Rivers. Sedibeng has a variety of attractions offering a vast cultural heritage and historical experiences including, among others, the political breakthroughs that led to the country’s political turn about.

The Sedibeng Region boasts several Heritage Sites related to the South African War of 1899 – 1902 and the two world wars that followed. The Shapeville Memorial pricinct stands as a reminder of the events of 31 March 1960 when 69 people lost their lives while protesting the pass laws of appartheid South Africa.

Attractions and activities include:

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WITKOP BLOCKHOUSE

During the Anglo-Boer War the first blockhouses were built on the orders of the British Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Lord Roberts in 1900. The main aim of the blockhouses was to protect the railway lines, which were the main supply route for the British army. These blockhouses were two-storey stone buildings. The Witkop blockhouse is situated on the R59, near the Engen garage (traveling south from Johannesburg). It is one of only fifty remaining blockhouses in the country. The Boswell Wilkie Circus and Coffee Shop is just near the Blockhouse and offers a variety of entertainment throughout the year. Approximately 15 to 20 km south-east of the Block House, travellers can experience a world of adventure at Bass Lake. The Bass Lake Adventure is situated at Henley-on-Klip and its main attractions include world class scuba diving catering for everyone, from first-timers to advance divers and instructor training. They also offer a host of other outdoor ventures, ranging from sight-seeing, birds watching, mountain bike riding, off-the-road 4x4 drive training to over night camping, with meals and drinks served at Bass Lake Restaurant.

VAAL TEKNORAMA MUSEUM

is the regional museum of the Sedibeng District Municipality situated at the original site of an old residential area – Top-location. One of the main reasons for the establishment of Top-location was to relocate people to Sharpeville.
The Teknorama museum boasts an interesting exhibition featuring the mind boggling pre-history of the area.
These includes paleontology, stone age and iron age artifacts. Modern history in the museum tells the visitors the establishment history of the towns in the Sedibeng Region and the important people related to the history. 
The Liberation Struggle forms an integral part of the history of South Africa. The Vaal Triangle played a central role during this era of our history. The exhibitions at the Vaal Teknorama Museum consist of a whole section dedicated to the Liberation Struggle in the Vaal Area from the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 to the signing of the New South African Constitution in 1996.

MACCAUVLEI GOLF COURSE: GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE:

With the declaration of war between the Boers and British in October 1899, countries within the Commonwealth offered assistance to Britain out of loyalty to their Motherland. Prime Minister Barton of Australia had said, “The Empire is one nation, and if so much as a quarter is attacked, so is another.” Three countries that are best remembered for their participation in the war are Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Over 7,000 to 8,000 Canadian troops were sent to South Africa and 16 nurses served, with over 200 to 300 Canadians dying during the skirmishes. The Australian troops that were sent totaled 16,175 and eight New Zealand Contingents were sent.

The Garden of Remembrance, situated at the Maccauvlei Golf Course, is the final resting place for seventy-four Canadian, Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died in the Vereeniging/Meyerton District during the Anglo-Boer War. These soldiers were initially buried at Klip River, Meyerton, Vereeniging and Engelbrechtsdrift and were reburied at Maccauvlei. Mr. HF Oppenheimer officially opened the Garden of Remembrance on 12 March 1961.

PEACE NEGOTIATION SITE

The Anglo-Boer War had begun to take its toll on the Boers. The soldiers saw their women and children dying in Concentration Camps, their farms and property being looted and destroyed and their fellow comrades being captured and placed into Prisoner-of-War Camps.
Sammy Marks, businessman, founder of Vereeniging and personal friend of President Paul Kruger from the Transvaal, offered a site in Vereeniging for the Boers and the Brits to negotiate a Peace Agreement.

On the misty morning of 15 May 1902 sixty delegates from the Boer Republics and sixty delegates from Britain met at a site at Vereeniging Brick and Tile (present-day Vereeniging Refractories). A marquee tent had been erected for the negotiations to take place and was called the “Tent der Saamekoms” (meeting tent). Peace was signed on 31 May 1902 at Melrose House in Pretoria. The negotiation site is situated at Vereeniging Refractories’ cricket pitch. It is at the Refractories, the oldest company in the region, where ninety years after the peace talks, and a 100 years after the town was founded in 1892 a Peace memorial was officially opened by the last presiding president of the union government, FW de Klerk on 31 May 1992.

SHARPEVILLE HUMAN RIGHTS PRECINCT

On 21 March 1960, in a little known township called Sharpeville, demonstrators gathered at the police station in Seeiso Street. Saracen armoured vehicles were stationed in the surrounding area and SAAF jets flew overhead. The policemen on duty that day were nervous as many were facing a crowd situation for the first time, and the memory of nine policemen that were killed by an angry mob in Cato Manor near Durban two months before, was fresh in their minds.
It is not known what the exact number of demonstrators were there on the day. The police reported 8000, the superintendent reported 5 000 and the PAC reported 2 000.  The crowd was relaxed, although rowdy. They were singing and shouting political slogans. They sang songs like Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika and Senzane na iAfrika and shouted slogans like Izwe Lethu, I’Afrika which means “our country.”  The exact reason for what was to happen is uncertain. Witnesses stated that a policeman was accidentally pushed over, feared for his life and started to pull his trigger. No order to fire was given, however the policemen started firing on the crowd for 20 to 40 seconds after hearing the initial gunshot.  After the guns stopped there was silence for a long time. Many witnesses to the Sharpeville Massacre recall the rain that fell after the tragedy that washed the blood off the streets. One witness, Mr. Ruben Rapoetsoe, recalls, “Immediately after the massacre, the rain came and cleaned the despair from the streets.” 
Sixty-nine people lay dead in the streets of Sharpeville, 180 lay injured. Seventy per cent of those killed were shot in the back. A massacre of innocent people.  That same day two demonstrators were killed at Vanderbijlpark and five at Langa and Nyanga in Cape Town.

Soon after the massacre, the Government banned the PAC and the ANC, a State of Emergency was declared and most of the country’s leading anti-apartheid activists were arrested or forced to work underground. The question of apartheid was brought up for the first time in the United Nations Security Council and the international community started putting pressure on the South African Government to end the racist regime.  The Sharpeville Massacre can be seen as the beginning of the end.

To honour those lives lost during the Sharpeville shooting and to all those who died for the liberation of South Africa, the Sharpeville Memorial was opened on 21 March 2002, a day now known as Human Rights Day. It is located in Seeiso Street in Sharpeville, opposite the police station where the shootings took place.

CONSTITUTION SQUARE

After the signing the new South africa constitution in Sharpeville on  10 December 1996, former president Nelson Mandela proceeded to the Vereeniging Civic centre to unveil another plaque that he renamed Constitution Square.

The square also houses a statue that was unveiled on 31 May 1961 by by the then Prime Minister, Dr. H.F. Verwoerd in honour of all who fought and those who  died during the Anglo-Boer War. Vereeniging  was chosen as the site for the monument because the peace negotiations that ultimately ended the war took place in Vereeniging. The monument was designed and crafted by renowned artist Coert Steynberg (he was also responsible for the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek and the Kruger Bust in the Kruger National Park).

CASINO

The Emerald Casino Resorts host a variety of weekly, monthly and weekend entertainment/activities for all ages. From Caravan and camping, self catering chalets, 5 star bush lodges and hotel accommodation to game drives, the Animal World zoo, aquadome, ten pin bowling, adventure golf, cosy restaurants and 6 shooters pub with various entertainers.

SUIKERBOSRAND

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve to the east of the R59 highway. Suikerbosrand has many species of game, fabulous drives, excellent bird watching, hiding trails, horse riding. A birding paradise, the region is custodian to one of the largest collection of waterfowl on one site. The Treehaven Waterfowl Trust has a specially developed wetland that allows visitors to enjoy birding in a natural and safe environment.
The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is also home to a varied number of bird species and is the largest wildlife and plant conservancy in the region. Take in the splendour of nature and tackle the koppies with the many walking and hiking trails and overnight camps available.
The Suikerbosrand’s neighbour, the Alice Glockner Nature Reserve, is home to another flying creature. The Heidelberg Copper Butterfly, a rare species of butterfly, is unique to the Heidelberg area.
The natural habitat of the region is sure to satisfy every wildlife or plant life enthusiast’s interest, or spark a new one. 
The Kareer Kloof/Protea Hotel Resort in the vicinity of the park offers a host of entertainment, conference facilities as well as accommodation, caravan and camping facilities.
Situated along the R59 free way, about 35 minutes drive from Johannesburg, is the historical monument, the Block House in the Midvaal. Block house was built by the British as a check-point during the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902, to guard the railway line

FREDEFORT DOME

From the oldest and biggest meteorite impact site in the world to the finest beadwork and knotted reed work in utensils and mats that is inherent to the crafts made by the Basotho – this is the experience waiting for travelers in the Northern Free State region. The centrality of this tourism region makes it accessible for residents from the Gauteng area (only about one hour’s drive by motor car from OR Tambo International Airport) as well as for visitors travelling to any other destination in South Africa. Vast water surfaces and outdoor orientated conservancies in this area offer weekend getaways of a special kind. They aslo provide excellent leisure opportunities, from hiking in the Vredefort Dome area to wine tasting at four established
up-market retail cellars in the Heilbron District.  Activities include boating, waterskiing, river rafting, fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and game viewing. Hunting opportunities are available within a well structured hunting industry, which provides orderly game farm management as a main objective.

KWA-DLOMO DAM

The Kwa-Dlomo is at the main entrance to Sharpeville from Vereeniging. It is told that Dlomo started the kraals that are still in existence today near the dam.
He had dug a hole so that the cattle could have drinking water. The hole grew so big that it became the size of the dam that we see today. This is an urban legend and the facts will have to be researched and tested. At present there are still kraals with cattle which is the first thing you see as you enter Sharpeville.
The resident of Sharpeville tells the story that after the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960 the blood of the victims flowed into the dam and the residents therefore make a connection between the Sharpeville Memorial and the dam.

 

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