On our tour through Heidelberg a gravel snake road takes us, up the hill to a birds eye view of the whole of Heidelberg. This is our “el camino” and when you reach the top you recall all the heritage stops and the influence it had on South African history. Allegedly this is the highest point of a town in Gauteng.
The large cross was planted here to watch over Heidelberg. When the top, some 1695m above sea level, is reached, Heidelberg becomes minute against this “noble mountain”, at the foot of the Suikerbosrand. With all of its rich history and heritage Heidelberg became the destination or as they would say: “El camino Heidelberg est destinato”.
Heidelberg also impressed the first official ranger from the Kruger National Park, James Steven Hamilton. He diarised his visit to Heidelberg and was a true legend especially being remembered for killing a lion with nothing but his pocketknife.
The vicinity of Suikerbosrand raises awareness about the natural beauty that surrounds it. The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is therefore a worthwhile visit in itself. Ruins from the Iron Age and dwellings of the Khatla and Bafokeng tribes can still be seen here, as well as one of the oldest houses (1850) built in the Old Transvaal. It was built by JC Marais the first registered owner of the farm, Diepkloof.
From the view and footprints of great statesmen of the past, old Heidelberg hangs below the mountains of the Suikerbosrand. The first general map of Heidelberg dates back to 1874. The layout thereof taking into account the natural streams connecting to the Blesbokspruit is similar to the structure of the whole of South Africa. Heidelberg can be seen as the banner of South African history. We tell the history of South Africa like no other town. No wonder the founders of unification, apartheid and eventually full democracy’s paths’ have all crossed here in Heidelberg. Our resident President Paul Kruger reminded us whist in exile to search for the good qualities from history and to build upon it. Our honorary President Nelson Mandela would conclude here in Heidelberg to us all in 1996: “… that eventually we have found peace in the recognition of equal rights for all.”From this view at the highest point in Gauteng, we marvel at its grace and beauty. This view might have helped our local state attorneys’ philosophy on Holism. As clever Jannie would have said, “The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts”. Heidelberg remain a banner of hope for South Africa. Nkosi Sikilela Africa!