Memorial House 'Mea Vota'

Built for the NZASM engineers A Westenberg and C van der Made jointly, probably by De Rapper. The two NZASM engineers had been transferred from Waterval-Boven to Pretoria in 1896. They decided to buy a well situated piece of land, the middle section of stand No 8 where they would build a house for their own occupation and requirements. Westenberg's nationality is well reflected in the house which displays the prevailing trends of late 19th century Dutch Architecture. The house was erected between April and August 1898 and Westenberg and the Van der Made family lived there from September of that year. An interesting feature is a section of built-in railway line in the upper bathroom with the number 1898 cast on the front face, heralding the year of completion. Their stay was short-lived as the house had scarcely been occupied by the two families when the Anglo-Boer War erupted. By June 1900, Pretoria was occupied by British forces. Shortly after, many Dutch citizens were deported to Europe, and Van der Made and Westenberg were among them.

Many houses in close proximity to the present Unisa campus were annexed by British officials and officers for use as quarters during the War. It is likely that the vacated house of Westenberg and Van der Made was used for the same purpose until the end of the War in 1902.

The Association Willem Punt (later the Association Dr Willem HJ Punt) was founded on 10 August 1976. It consisted of enthusiasts who endeavour to preserve historic buildings, and was founded with the idea of buying 'Mea Vota' and having the house restored and preserved so that it could be of service to the community. The then owner of the house, Mrs Noel-Barham, was prepared to sell the house for R32 000 and transfer of the property took place at the end of 1978. Funds for restoration were obtained from Barclays Bank (presently First National Bank), the City Council of Pretoria and smaller individual donors. The idea was to adapt a part of the house as a museum with the theme: The ZAR in the time of President SJP Kruger, with emphasis on the Dutch contribution to cultural life in Pretoria.

In October 1980, the NZASM House was declared a National Monument (now a Provincial Heritage Resource). Shortly afterwards, a section of the house was let out as office space to architects. These tenants were responsible for the control and supervision of the site and building, and at the same time provided a monthly income for the Association Dr Willem HJ Punt. These tenants vacated the premises on 1 July 1990, after which it was decided to resume restoration of the building. A loan was obtained from First National Bank and the restoration was completed at a cost of R139 000 in September 1991. Between 1991 and 1997 the house was let out as offices. It was in 1997 that it came up for sale and was purchased by the Tshwane University of Technology, who restored it and currently utilises it as a guesthouse for visiting dignitaries. The restoration of the interior was supervised by Sonia Smit in September 1997.

Attributed to Victor van Lissa

Artefacts (accessed 22 April 2016).