Ten things you might not have known about Pretoria.

2013-02-14 03:08
The twisty naming issue of Tshwane aside, here are ten things we will bet you never knew about Pretoria:

1. Depending on where you are from, Pretoria is Johannesburg's outermost suburb, or it is its own city. Those from Pretoria staunchly believe the latter, and are indeed quite correct. However, the exploding expansion of the northern suburbs of Jozi has reduced the gap between the two cities to almost nothing, so those of us from eGoli believe that the Jacaranda City is just a part of ours. And we lend them our airport too.

2. During the Anglo-Boer war, Winston Churchill was imprisoned in the Staats Model Skool in Pretoria, but he managed to escape to Mozambique. Just as well, as he had a little problem which required his attention about 40 years afterwards.

3. According to Wikipedia, the language most widely spoken in Pretoria is not, in fact, Afrikaans. It is Pedi. This would explain why there are no hermaphrodites there, at least according to former ANC youth league president Julius Malema.

4. The Gautrain is in action as the country’s first bullet train to move people from Johannesburg to Pretoria and vice-versa without haemorrhaging the highway between the two cities, as happens every morning and afternoon. It also links up the airport to the centre of both cities as well as Sandton, which is virtually a city on its own, anyway.

5. One of South Africa's most famous modes of transport is The Blue Train which covers the 1 600km track to Cape Town from Pretoria. This luxury experience comes at a premium, but is an excellent way to travel from Pretoria.

Image by wikipedia.org

6. The name of this city is a massive bone of contention as the debate as to whether it should be called Pretoria or Tshwane continues to rage. It seems to have always been the case though. Pretoria was first called Petoriusdorp - a little later, someone suggested the name Pretorium, but finally, to the relief of many the name Pretoria was finally adopted.

7. Pretoria was the home of the world's biggest soccer ball. As soccer fever hit South Africa during 2010, corporate involvement increased. This ball adorned the top of Telkom's Lukasrand tower. The ball was 24 meters across and 8 storeys high and was 100% recyclable.

8. Pretoria's main street, Stanza Bopape (previously Church Street), is the longest urban street in South Africa and one of the longest straight streets in the world.

9. Pretoria Boys High School, one of the flagship schools of the city, boasts some incredible alumni including former Springbok captain John Smit, Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorious, anti-Apartheid activist and British MP Peter Hain, and ex-Bafana Bafana player Mark Fish.

10. Mrs Ples (the nickname for what is considered one of the oldest intact skulls of a distant ancestor of humankind - dating back over 2-million-years ago) was discovered in The Cradle of Humankind and now resides in the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria.


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