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The French Huguenot Monument

You’ll find the Huguenot Monument at the end of Franschhoek’s main street, in a green park and set against a beautiful backdrop of mountains. The monument was designed by JC Jongens and completed in 1945, and commemorates the Huguenot immigrants who fled Catholic-ruled France in the late 1600s for South Africa. ‘Franschhoek’, incidentally, means ‘French corner’.

The sculpture of the woman represents freedom of conscienceThe sculpture of the woman represents freedom of conscience

The focal point of the monument is a woman standing on a globe, sculpted by Coert Steynberg, who also sculpted a statue of Bartolomeu Dias at South Africa House in London and a large statue of Paul Kruger, former president of the then-South African Republic (Transvaal), at one of the entrances to the Kruger National Park, among many other works.

The woman is meant to represent religious freedom, which the Huguenots found in South Africa. She has a bible in one hand an a broken chain in the other. She is backed by an elegant three-arched structure that is supposed to symbolise the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is a ‘sun of righteousness’ above the arches, and above this, a Christian cross.

The signboard at the monument reads: ‘Erected on this dedicated ground in 1943 by grateful South African people in honour of the Huguenots at the Cape (1688) and their invaluable contribution to our nationhood. The three arches symbolize the Holy Trinity: the Sun and the Cross form the emblem of the Huguenots. The central figure represents the freedom of conscience.
Design by: JC Jongens
Sculptor: Coert Steynberg’

The monument is very photogenic – it’s almost impossible not to get great shots on a clear day. Walk all the way round for good opportunities for close-ups. Entrance to the monument is R10 per person.

The three arches of the Huguenot Memorial represent the Christian Holy Trinity

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