Civic monument in Carolina restored to full glory

Henry

In just a few weeks, the Carolina community, in cooperation with the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations (FAK), rebuilt what had been destroyed and in pieces for years.

Now, proudly on its new platform in front of the NG Church Carolina, this monument has been fully restored and will be unveiled on May 31 this year.

When the Zuma marches raged across the country in 2021, this monument was vandalized and damaged and the head of the statue was chopped off. This monument was erected to commemorate the Battle of Spioenkop during the Anglo-Boer War, during which the Boers suffered heavy losses.

“Finally, after almost three years, the statue was restored to its former glory. The FAK is so grateful to this community in Carolina that has so eagerly banded together to make this project a reality. Once again we see the miracles that can be performed by the power of the community,” says Barry Müller, the FAK’s head of national projects.

“On July 28, 2021, the head was discovered in the yard of a guest house in Carolina. Since then, the FAK has been continuously working on the permits and permission needed to move and restore the monument.”

Müller tells that the damage to the statue was not only the head that was cut off, but also that the mauser (gun) and the binoculars that the figure is holding were also damaged before.

The head and damage to the statue were repaired by sculptor Jaco van Niekerk, who with his expertise and talent repaired the damage to the head itself and then restored the statue in its entirety.

Leonie Marais, the FAK’s heritage resource specialist, carefully facilitated this process.

The demolition process had to be done according to specifications, just like with the rebuild.

“It was quite challenging because the original materials are granite and marble – they are very heavy and require the use of special machinery. It was a great experience though. We were dependent on the community and the availability of resources by the community to complete the project, but it is precisely the intervention of the community and their willingness that made the project a success,” says Marais.

Members of the Carolina community, such as Leon Dormel, provided resources, time and hands to move and rebuild the monument.

Dormel, the local Carolina contractor, has lived in town for nearly 25 years.

“I have a soft spot for history and especially for the Boer Wars. When the opportunity arose (to help), I was there. In my life I have never attempted anything like this. I am honored to be involved,” says Dormel.

EARTH-MACH’s truck crane and BuildIt’s brick truck crane, which members in the community made available for the project, ensured that this project could be completed.

Dormel says that the residents of the town heard about the restoration process with great excitement.

The FAK thanks the community in Carolina and salutes the residents who preserve their heritage with such willingness and service.

“Once again, the Carolina community proves that where there’s a will, there’s a way. This community did not allow their heritage to be further looted and destroyed, and took matters into their own hands. This is how we are going to save African heritage in South Africa,” says Müller.