Potchefstroom boasts a rich and varied historical and cultural heritage, including many national monuments.

Potchefstroom Museum
The Potchefstroom Museum forms a fascinating link with the historical and cultural past of the Transvaal.

A Voortrekker leader, a president, an artist and a poet - memories of these four diverse characters linger on in the picturesque highveld town of Potchefstroom.

First there was Andries Hendrik Potgieter, the Bibletoting Voortrekker who founded the town in 1838. Then came Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, president of the South African Republic, who also made his home here. Years later came the artist Otto Landsberg - not in person, but through the many paintings on permanent exhibition in the town. The last of the four was Potchefstroom's greatest man of letters, known by the pen name, Totius, whose lasting legacy was the translation of the Bible into Afrikaans.

The Great Trek, the South African Republic and the two wars of independence are the museum's main historical themes.

The museum's art gallery contains a large collection of works by the representational artist, Otto Landsberg, whose grandson Auguste d'Astre was a resident of Potchefstroom. German-born, Cape-based Landsberg was a multi-talented man - a painter, watercolourist and sculptor. The Landsberg works form the nucleus of the museum's art collection. It also includes the works of other renowned South African artists such as Maud Sumner, Walter Battiss and Bettie Cilliers-Barnard.

Goetz Fleischack Museum
Next door to the main building, on the comer of Gouws and Potgieter streets, you'll find the Goetz / Fleischack Museum in the former home of Andreas Marthinus Goetz - Potchefstroom's landdrost (magistrate) between 1870 and 1881. It is the only remaining example of the townhouses that were erected around the New Market Square between 1850 and 1885, and has been furnished in opulent Victorian style.

President Pretorius Museum
From this museum, it's a short drive (or a long walk) to the next one - the President Pretorius Museum situated where Esselen Street joins Van der Hoff Road, itself an extension of Kerk Street.

It is believed that President MW Pretorius built this old Cape-style dwelling with its coach house, stable and smithy in 1868. The homestead with its tranquil farmyard recalls an urban Boer culture which has long since disappeared.

Totius House Museum
Now cross Van der Hoff into Esselen Street and tum left into Molen Street. You'll see Totius House Museum on your left. Jacob Daniel du Toit was Potchefstroom's most famous resident (although he was born in Paarl in the Cape).

Professor du Toit was a theologian of note, as well as a poet who published nine volumes of poetry under the nom de plume Totius and a staunch advocate of the Afrikaans language. The museum is located in the home he occupied as principal of the Theological Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church. It contains much of the furniture and many of the utensils, pictures and books owned by him and his family. The charming house, with its decorative veranda typical of the early part of this century, also has a number of paintings by Pierneef - testimony to the close friendship between poet and artist.

The Reformed Church, the oldest in the Transvaal, is another of Potchefstroom's gems, while other assets of historical interest include the remains of the Old Fort, in which a British garrison was besieged for 95 days during the First War of Independence (1880-1), the Gunners' Memorial in honour of the Potchefstroom gunners who died in the Second World War, the Centenary Monument sculpted by Coert Steynberg, and the Anglican Church with its magnificent stained glass windows.

Potchefstroom also boasts its own living national monument - an oak avenue of more than 700 trees spanning 7 km.

There are many modern-day treasures in the Potchefstroom University Art Gallery, which you'll find on the campus itself, on the third floor of the Ferdinand Postma Library Building. The Anthropological Museum, also on the campus, contains a comprehensive collection of Tswana artefacts.
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