Shapes, light and shadow in Freedom Park

I recently visited Freedom Park. It is worth a visit for many reasons. It sits on a hill overlooking Pretoria and provides a spectacular view of the city. There’s a lot that I like about Freedom Park, not least of which is the acknowledgement and celebration of our heritage as a diverse South African nation.

I was struck by the naturalness of the building materials, the merging into the environment and beautiful shapes in the construction of the facility.

Freedom Park – I love these stark angles and the play of light and dark, sun and shadow


Freedom Park – natural stonework on the wall, blue sky, shade, curves and lines

It was there that I met a sangoma who had some very interesting stories to tell. We sat there, like kids, listening in fascination, as she demystified the modality. I don’t know why people are afraid of them, or why they are looked down upon as a lesser form of healing. Like all modalities, there are the good sangomas and the ones that aren’t good and prey on human fears (remember those flyers that are handed out at robots promising all sorts of improbable things). Like homeopathy, naturopathy and chinese medicine, to mention but a few, it has its protocols, processes and materials for healing (e.g. herbs). There are cultural belief systems surrounding sangomas, ancient ones. I wouldn’t hesitate to make use of one. A whole lot of us went home with her business card :-).


2 thoughts on “Shapes, light and shadow in Freedom Park”

  1. I visited Freedom Park on Boxing Day 2012. I thought the whole thing was a shambles. Please don’t misinterpret this – I approve of the idea of a Freedom Park; it is much needed to give a balanced view of the real history of South Africa. But this project does not do our freedom fighters justice.

    Why not? 1) Names are not alphabetical or chronological, just scattered at random. 2) Poorly signposted. 3) a succession of employees at every corner tries to give you a run-down of where to go and what to see – you don’t need 4 or 5 people to tell you what a few good direction signs would tell you. 4) electronic displays all out of order. 5) stonework is already cracking up. 6) the place where you take your shoes off – suddenly the concrete is of the roughest texture anywhere in the whole complex. Why? Why? 7) there is a comments book but no pen. 8) Unnecessarily long – VERY long – walks. 9) Look I could go on and on, but perhaps most tellingly, the whole complex does not give you a feeling of freedom. Rather, its tall stone walls give you a boxed-in feeling, exacerbated by the confusion one feels due to the large, rambling and inadequately signposted complex.

    Once again, my comments are not directed at the CONCEPT of a Freedom Park.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yeah, visitor experience is important. Our group was fortunate to have had a guided tour of Freedom Park. I get what you say, some of the stone plaques are cracked and you can see where they’ve made marks to replace them. Before I was taken there as part of a tour I hadn’t seen any advertising or promotion of the park. I knew it existed but that was all. I only hope that we can maintain it nicely. I guess it doesn’t help that the visitors book had no pen to record feedback. I feel that the park has such potential. I did enjoy the canyon-like walls though 🙂

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