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Talana Live 2017

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Talana Live 2017

I was introduced to the Talana Live event in 2016, by a very enthusiastic Dundee resident, who said it’s the event of the year and a must see! Having chatted with various Battlefield guides of the area, they all suggested “Come, you will be impressed.

I managed to sell the story of guns, cannons, horses and all things olden days to my two young daughters who were keen for the getaway and action. We set out early on Saturday, 21st of October, and traveled along the N3. As we turned onto the R74 towards Colenso/Ladysmith we were instantly struck by the number by Acacia trees and aloes making up the beautiful scenery. We arrived at Talana Museum, Dundee, in time for lunch and weren’t disappointed! The girls were introduced to vetkoek (a crispy donut exterior filled with a savoury mince filling) and naturally, pancakes for dessert. We ate our meal whilst watching the Zulu dancers; a Pipe band and a local school choir. We viewed the vintage car display and wandered into the “Creation” hall to discover locally made arts and crafts.






The moment we were waiting for, the Battle of Talana re-enactment arrived! Historically, the actual battle took place on the 20th of October 1899, the first major clash of the Second Boer War and here we were standing on the land the battle took place 118 years later! What a thrill. Waiting on the side of the cordoned off battle area, we watched as the British soldiers fought against the Boers and the drummer boy in the background playing the battle sound. The guns and cannon, with their loud bangs and smoke, truly made it feel as if we were witnessing a live battle. (No live ammunition was shot during the re-enactment.)

The day was not over, as the girls visited all the various museum displays and saw how the founder of Dundee, Peter Smith and his  family lived on Talana Hill in a small cottage from 1859. We read about their hardships with the rinderpest plus the ultimate challenge of the local shop being 2 months away by oxwagon!

The graveyard was filled with interesting stories of those who had passed on, from day old babies to soldiers who had lost their lives in battle. There are many buildings to discover, all filled with incredible stories of courage and determination. We truly enjoyed our experience and recommend you go visit in 2018!Talana Museum is set on 20 acres of a heritage park; it is a fantastic outing for the whole family, kids and parents are both catered for with a variety of intriguing displays that are housed in 23 buildings for your benefit. Come visit the Talana Museum to learn more about the battles that took place in the area, agriculture, industry, mining and local living of yesteryear.

Lori Voss

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