From late September to middle November, Jacarandas bloom all over Pretoria and turn the face of the city purple.
It is estimated that there are almost 70 000 Jacarandas growing around the many streets, parks and gardens of Pretoria.
Jacaranda is not indigenous to Africa and was introduced from Brazil to South Africa in 1829. It is seen as an invader tree.
Pretorians love their Jacarandas and students from the University of Pretoria believe that if you are studying for your final year exams and a blossom falls on your head, you will pass your exams with flying colours.
In Nelson Mandela’s book: Long Walk to Freedom, he remarks that during the Treason Trial, one of South Africa’s longest trials in history – 1956 to 1961 – held at the Old Synagogue in Paul Kruger Street,
they were permitted to have lunch in a nearby garden:
“Those moments under the shade of the jacaranda trees on the vicarage lawn were the most pleasant of the trial …” – Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom.
During Madiba’s inauguration speech, on 10 May 1994 at the Union Buildings, he again referred to Jacarandas:
To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld. – Nelson Mandela