Kya Rosa, Rosa’s House at UP for Thursday Doors

A replica of Kya Rosa, meaning Rosa’s House, is found at UP and is this week’s home for Thursday Doors.

Kya Rosa House, main entrance, UP
Kya Rosa House, main entrance, UP

The original building was a love declaration made in 1895 by Leo Weinthal, then owner of The Press (today Pretoria News to his wife, Rosa. “Kya” means house in Zulu.

Kya Rosa  UP, verandah
Left verandah of Kya Rosa

In 1889 A.H. Nellmapius established a printing press in Pretoria and two newspapers: one in English, “The Press”, and one in Dutch, “De Pers”.

Leo Weinthal was of German origin and grew up in the Jewish faith. He studied in Hamburg, Germany as well as in Port Elizabeth, as a photographer. In 1887 he was a state lithographer in Pretoria but was more interested in journalism so in 1888 he became the principal agent of Reuters in the then Transvaal Province of South Africa (today part of, the provinces of Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga). He also represented The Times and the Daily Telegraph. In 1891 Leo Weinthal took up the editor position of The Press/De Pers. He resigned in 1896 due to political reason. He returned in 1898 to start the midday paper, The Pretoria News, which still exists today. He travelled extensively throughout Africa and compiled travel and guide books.

Kya Rosa UP, length of front verandah
Front verandah, Kya Rosa

Kya Rosa later became the first home of the then Transvaal University College (TUC), the predecessor of the University of Pretoria – that we already visited during the past weeks.

Simon van der Stel Foundation plaque
Simon van der Stel Foundation plaque

Situated at the Roper Street entrance, Kya Rosa is a 1980s reconstruction of the original inner-city building that hosted the university’s early activities.

Kya Rosa UP, side verandah and back door
Kya Rosa UP, right verandah and another side door

The beautiful part is that the replica was built under the supervision of an UP alumnus, architect Albrecht Holm. The Victorian ornamentation of the building displays hints of Orientalism and Many of the original Wilhelmine (Dutch Victorian) fittings were used in the reconstruction.

Kya Rosa house UP full view and garden

For Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors, a weekly encounter of door lovers from around the world.

If you haven’t done so already, do read my poem Love for Africa, published on the AVBOB Poetry website and entered in the 2023 AVBOB Poetry Competition.

8 Replies to “Kya Rosa, Rosa’s House at UP for Thursday Doors”

  1. The Taj Mahal and Kya Rosa – two buildings erected for love. Shall I understand that the original Kya Rosa is gone now?

  2. I love that verandah! I also love it when houses are painstakingly restored or rebuilt. This is a wonderful recreation. Thanks for sharing the history.

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