She is on the inside, in a pastoral setting, gazing into the middle distance with an expression that combines spiritual calm with a steely resolve. I hadn’t noticed it before, but the Voortrekker Monument has a very maternal air about it. I’m pretty sure there must be an Afrikaans equivalent for the Chinese saying: Women hold up half the sky. Once I went along to an exhibition by the History Department at Wits, and on the wall there was a poster of an ox-wagon, in a circle with a line drawn through it. “No Great Trek!”, it said. A good joke for anyone who had to study the causes and effects of the trek at school, but still, there are ways of teaching. History is born in us, just as we tell and write the stories that will one day be history.

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