One of Tshwane’s landmarks has been dressed up by designers and businesspeople ahead of the Rugby World Cup final as a show of support.
The iconic Paul Kruger statue that sits in the middle of Church Square will don green and gold for the first time as it gets behind Siya Kolisi’s Springbok side in their quest to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
“We wanted to create a sense of camaraderie – bringing the nation together ahead of the team’s effort to retain the Rugby World Cup and possibly win it for a record-breaking fourth time,” explains Jeffrey Wapnick, the managing director of City Property.
The property company owns several of the buildings around the square, and took the lead in the project.
“Our blood is green. We are extremely proud of what our team has achieved so far. Saturday’s game is the Boks’ ultimate challenge as we try to retain the Webb Ellis Cup. The Capital City is rugby-crazy, and as the rainbow nation, we show our support in various ways. We believe there isn’t a better way than to cover Oom Paul in the colours of our national team.”
To drape the iconic statue on Church Square in green and gold was also the initiative of city development NPO, the Capital Collective.
Putting the square on the map
Wapnick says this installation aims to show support for the Boks but also to create awareness for Church Square in Tshwane as a tourist destination.
“We are proud members of the Church Square Revival Project (CSRP). The project is driven by a group of people from the community, as well as the private and public sector, and includes the Tshwane municipality, Capital Collective, the Pretoria Society of Advocates and City Property Administration.
“The initiative of dressing up Oom Paul in green and gold follows the launch of the CSRP earlier this month. The overall goal is to create a healthy public square with a vibrant community to boost the revitalisation of the city’s inner core,” explains Wapnick.
Local artists, suppliers such as the construction company that assisted with the cherry picker, tenants, technical specialists, staff and several other businesses got involved to make it happen.
“We are also thankful for the support from the city for allowing us to have a bit of fun, to show our support for the Springboks, and to focus on what we can achieve if we work together,” Wapnick adds.
Iconic jersey number for iconic statue
He explains the number six on the back was ‘non-negotiable’.
“Like all South Africans, as a property management company we are inspired by former president Nelson Mandela who wore the No six Springbok jersey in 1995 when South Africa won its first Rugby World Cup, and current Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who also plays in a No six shirt,” adds Wapnick.
“We believe the qualities Siya exudes as a person and leader are something all of us can inspire to include in our daily lives. Besides heaps of talent, Siya leads through humility, and inclusivity and allows us all to dream that anything is possible. Our message to Siya and the team is clear: The Capital City is right behind you. Church Square is ready for when you return with the world cup trophy for your celebration parade. We believe in you, and we are #StrongerTogether. Go Bokke!” concludes Wapnick.
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