Pretoria Then & Now – 1954 vs 2014

Following on from our Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg Then and Now videos we have now created a Pretoria Then and Now.

Do you think Pretoria has changed much in the last 60 years? Watch this video and let us know what you think:

Voortrekker Monument

Vortrekker Monument

Declared a National Heritage Site in 2011, The Vortrekker Monument commemorates the Voortrekkers who left The Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. The structure still stands strong.

View From Across Church Square


Church Square, the centre of Pretoria, is home to many historic buildings including the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, the Tudor Chambers, the Ou Raadsaal and the General Post Office.

The Union Building


The official seat of the South African Government and the office of current president, Jacob Zuma.

View from The Union Buildings


The Union Buildings and the South African Flags (Past and Present)


 The old and new South African flags fly at the Union Buildings. 

Our Readers Comments

  1. Thanx Liam. I enjoyed the then and now pics.

  2. Simone’s comment is so positive about Pretoria except the fact that she was very angry when she wrote it.

  3. Simone, thank you for pointing THAT out! THAT is actually the truth and anybody who has criticised you have no idea, or is still in denial of what the new South Africa ahas brought about. Thank heavens we’re not the SA of 60 years ago!!!!

  4. Simone…WTF ? You have a lot to say.. funny how you forgot to mention da Crime…Don’t put your 2cent comments in a R5 machine….@Vuyani and others who talk about people returning to Europe n Australia…Now that’s racist..
    Oh n Simone..

  5. How did this turn out to b about race again? Lol but I agree with Simone, she made valid points which should hv been included in the vid, alot hs bin left out of yhe vid.. I also agree with sum1 who mentioned crime, that should’ve bin included also, they should’ve included prison cells n how inmates receive special treatments… But, I don’t think the vid’s intention was to spark a racial war or compare governments.. Back then, life was about white ppl, today life is about greed (and m talking both whites n blacks) … nobody needs to return to Europe or Australia or wherever lol, coz I believe 90% of ever1 in here where born in SA.. However, those that are still not proud and still have racial tensions with each other, therz a Mars1 project thingy.. U could always go there (and m talking to all u bitter individuals)

  6. Thanks,job well done! Your work is much appreciated.

  7. Ey white people still racist and don’t change. If there has be no change in 60 year, please u are welcome to go back to Europe

  8. Simone, you are just ignorant not to have noticed what happened in the last 9 years,never mind 60if you could have noticed it due to your age. As someone said: It is a dump compared to what it was. Who would want to see a murdering terrorist’s statue except somebody like you in any case?

  9. Shame Mr Realist. My heart bleeds with lumpy custard. Fotunately it’s not too late to flee the country and leave us uncivilized barbarians with more positive things to ponder about. Shame …

  10. I grew up in Pretoria, and remember all these land marks so well, they were our play grounds over weekends, places me spent many hours growing up – I have not been back for 30 years and it was wonderful to see and remember the times I spent at the Union Buildings with my late dad, the times we spent at the monument….and Church square….wow so many memories….THANK YOU

  11. Good work. But I feel your material was to carefully chosen. What about the CBD?

  12. Wow, its a great video. Im impressed.

  13. Thanks to the realist for his input.!
    However that’s what you get for oppressing people 60 years ago a city that never catered for equality. Poor planning by the previous white elite.Take that to the bank!Sorry I mean “Pretoria”
    So now face the music!

  14. Simone really has a chip on her shoulder, ……..very good video, well done Liam

  15. Thanks for the effort you put onto making this video. It’s nice to see it’s still there.
    Simone Really!!! It’s been 20 years. it’s time to get over it !!! It’s people that are stuck in the past and punishing the people of today who didn’t make the rules back then that is causing South Africa to go backwards instead of forwards. I apologise that you still feel so unfairly treated but maybe get some help and try and see what is infront of you! You get to not experience those things now! But with the good Comes the bad and look how worse off is the country due to today’s government!

  16. Simone is 100% correct.
    To me she seems extremely proud of Pretoria or Tshwane and I have also witnessed the immense change in PTA and I am proud of it as well. what would have been interesting us to see what Garankuwa, Attridgeville and Mamelodi looked like then, because I even our urban sprawl looks posh and very safe compaired to the drug and gang inpested slums of Rio de Jenaro

  17. The only thing I see here is the difference between video qualities….

  18. Awesome Video!

    Simone, nobody gives a damn shit what you think! Grow up!

  19. Sixty years ago there was hardly any crime in Pretoria and it was clean and civilized.Today the centre of Pretoria is a trash bin and nobody is safe there
    Most of the old buildings are the same and i hope they will be saved and not destroyed by the so called Tswane council
    Why have a statue of Madiba, though he is the only ANC member I have ever admired,he did not build Pretoria.
    I am 70 and saw Pretoria grow in front of my eyes. Today it is becoming a third world city centre like Washington and Harlem in NY

    • Washington? I found it All but a third world city centre. On the contrary!

  20. Why take the negative out of the possible positive… really unnecessary….I found it quite interesting

  21. Gosh Liam, you are such a good person! I would have told
    Simone where to get off! Why do some people always have to be so negative and unappreciative?

    • Well done Josh I love to see the old photographs against the new ones – I wish we had more of these for other cities too. Simone I agree you missed the point of the story which was a story in pictures – grow up not everything is about politics in SA even if most people want to make everything politics. I also would like to point out that you failed to mention the crime in Pretoria which is you want to talk about all the differences then surely that should be included?

    • Liam is not a good person, she’s emotionally more intelligent than most people commenting here, this is Africa people,if you going to compare a white era with a black era, a black era that had to tolerate its perpetrators, you going to rub Africans the wrong way, I heard Australia is hiring thou 🙂

  22. Hi Simone,

    I produced this video and it was filmed by a local team in Pretoria. Thank you for your feedback on it – I hear your points.

    The purpose of the video was to compare footage from 1954 with footage of the same places in 2014. Unfortunately the original videographer did not film the areas you mentioned and we could therefore not compare them with today.

    Instead the video focuses on certain historical parts of Pretoria which still remain today.

    Thank you for letting us know how much Pretoria has really changed.

    – Liam

    • great respond thank you

    • The point of this exercise went straight over the heads of a lot of people. I don’t think Liam expected the outcry that it generated. That said, if Simone hadn’t started off on completely the wrong track I doubt it would have became so contentious. There is any easy solution to some of Simone’s comments, just go and take a shot of random veld and then compare to the places she mentions and no one will know the difference. She talks complete tripe about Pretoria East, Silverlakes has been there for 20+ years already, the original part that is.

  23. Who made this stupid video. And all these myopic commenst of “It hasnt’ changed much!!) SHM!!! I’ve only been in Pretoria for 9 years and in that 9 years SOOOOO much has changed. First and foremost it is now the biggest metro in Africa in landmass and the 3rd biggest in the world governed by the City of Tshwane. 60 years ago it had a handful of world missions. Today it host the second most diplomatic missions (embassies/high commissions and world bodies such as UN and ILO) in the world. (Washington hosts the most)! 60 years ago blacks, coloureds and indians couldn’t enter the Voortrekker we have Freedom Park that joins the Voortrekker monument with Reconcilliation Road (where is ALL OF THAT in the video) and the two entities have signed a co-operation MOU; 60 years ago there was no Silverlakes, hell there wasnt even a Pretoria EAST! even 9 years ago there was hardly a Silverlakes Estate, Farm Inn was really within a farm area – where’s THAT in the video; 60 years ago the Union Buildings belonged to whites only. now it belongs to ALL of us with the Mandela statue – where is THAT in the video! I mean really..where IS Madiba’s statue in the video (edited out?).; 60 years ago there was not even an N1 joining Joburg and Pretoria, now we have the Gautrain (with 3 stations) including the Pretoria Gautrain station (where’s THAT in the video). 60 years ago there was NO Menlyn Park (Mall) or Centurion Mall – where’s THAT in the video; 60 years ago there was NO State Theatre -where’s THAT in the video.. 60 years ago there was NO commemorative statue for Solomon Mahlangu in Mamelodi – where’s THAT in the video. There have been ENDLESS changes in Pretoria in the past 60 years and I can list several more which this “videographer” FAILED to capture and Travelstart South Africa dare post this rubbish as a representation of “change”?! And in addition dare ask a silly question viz “do you think it’s change much” Church Square, Voortrekker Monument and the Union Buildings does NOT constitute Pretoria! Pretoria now constitutes the entire municipality of Tshwane!

    • Dear Simone
      You are disqualified to make any comments about Pretoria you were not even born in 1954.The point is look at the pictures on the post not what’s in your mind.

    • Simone – Ms negative hey.
      Thanks for taking the time Liam 🙂

    • Duh Simone — for one: The reference was PRETORIA, NOT Tshwane — Difference being – Centurion (back then Lyttelton & Irene) were not part of Tshwane, neither Rayton, Nor Cullinan, Hammanskraal, Pyramid etc. etc….

      Compare apples with apples …. Pretoria STILL exists… AND it is NOT Tshwane

    • I have the number of a good anger counceller…………..posible angervissues dear?

    • You stupid dum racist, cant you read?

    • Liam is not just a good person, she’s emotionally more intelligent than most people commenting here, this is Africa people, if you going to compare a white era with a black era, a black era that had to tolerate its perpetrators, you running a good chance of rubbing Africans the wrong way. Liam picked this up.

      Simone good looking out my sister, somebody had to mention, what you said to make sure the correct state of Pretoria is put forward not just the orchestrated one. There is a lot of footage of Pretoria available online and in SABC archives, the ones used here were chosen specifically to create a particular idea which cannot be archived with any other available footage.

    • Are you just stupid? I also agree with Ron, you can’t make such comments.

    • Simone you carry on about Silver Lakes Pretoria started on the other side of town on the farms Daspoort and Elandspoort by my great grand father Martinus Wessel Pretorius

Have something to say...