The cultural historical significance of Pretoria’s jacaranda trees
Van Vollenhoven, Anton C.
MetadataShow full item record
Pretoria is well-known for its jacaranda trees, which has earned the city the nickname “Jacaranda City”. Jacarandas, however, are alien trees, which were brought to South Africa during the 19th century. The trees are frequently in danger when development projects are undertaken, usually resulting in a public outcry, as these trees have a special meaning for the people of this city. The aim of this article is to investigate this issue to determine whether jacarandas have cultural heritage significance. In order to do this the history of these trees, with specific reference to Pretoria, was studied. Background research related to heritage management was also done in order to be able to measure the possible cultural significance of these trees. The National Heritage Resources Act (no 25 of 1999), as well as international heritage protocols, refer to natural features and specifically those of cultural significance. Thus, natural heritage issues are considered as well, in drawing a conclusion. Historical research shows that jacarandas were imported to South Africa round about 1830 and that the first ones were planted in Pretoria in 1888. They were first planted as street trees in the town during 1906, and only after 1911 this was done on a larger scale. Over the years there have been many interventions, to either protect or remove these trees. Jacaranda trees are believed to have cultural, historical, aesthetic and social values for the inhabitants of Pretoria.