As you stroll around Burger Square in the Eastern Cape town of Burgersdorp, you will come upon a rather imposing object called The Jubilee Fountain. It’s a large cast-iron piece, more in the shape of a gazebo, and very ornate in design. At the top of the ‘fountain’ is a series of rampant egrets and look, here’s an inscription:
“Keep the pavement dry.” In the Karoo? Really?
There are only four such fountains ever made. This one was purchased for less than 70 British pounds to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.
Nearby is the Taal Monument dedicated to the Dutch language, which gave birth to modern-day Afrikaans. One of the statues is that of a rather beautiful woman, said to be modelled on the daughter of one Daantjie van den Heever, a prominent local Afrikaner-rights leader. The statue was carved in Italy from Carrera marble.
The British moved into Burgersdorp during the Anglo-Boer War and built the massive blockhouse you see on the hill overlooking the town.
They also damaged the Taal Monument statue of the lovely lady. It ended up buried somewhere near King William’s Town. Long after the war, Britain agreed to make things right with the rather angry burghers of Burgersdorp in this respect. They paid for another statue to be made, a replica of the original.
The ‘first lady’ was unearthed in 1939, cleaned up and moved to Burger Square where it stands, headless, next to the replica.
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