The Capital City’s Blood is Green

It seems everyone is supporting the Springboks this week ahead of the Rugby World Cup final, and not even one of Tshwane’s landmarks could resist the temptation.

Oom Paul – the iconic Paul Kruger statue that sits in the middle of Church Square – will don green and gold for the first time as even it gets behind Siya Kolisi’s Springbok side in their quest to retain the Webb Ellis trophy.

As Nelson Mandela said – sport has the power to unite us.  The team behind the intervention of dressing Paul Kruger in green and gold, believes it is uniting the people of the capital city.

“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 winning it for a record-breaking fourth time,” explains Jeffrey Wapnick, managing director of City Property.

“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 the initiative of City Property Administration and the Capital Collective.

The aim of this installation is to show our support for the Boks, but also to create awareness for Church Square and 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 City of 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.

“We had this idea after the Boks won their semifinal match against England, and we managed to pull it off within a couple of days!  Local artists, suppliers like ATW Construction who assisted with the cherry picker, tenants, technical specialists, staff, and lots of other people got involved to make this 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.

The number 6 on the back was non-negotiable.  Like all South Africans, the property management company is inspired by former President, Nelson Mandela who wore the No 6 Springbok jersey in 1995 when South Africa first won its first Rugby World Cup, and current Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who also plays in a No 6 shirt.

“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 by means of humility, inclusivity and allow 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!

List of partners who contributed:

  • ATW Construction – Rental of Cherry picker, travel, set up and draping – Alwin Wallace and staff
  • Capital Collective
  • City of Tshwane
  • City Property Administration
  • Dalas Fashion Designs – seamstress – Pascal Zounon
  • Studio Taki – design, printing and draping of statue – Goodwill Mokoka, Ghadijah Selomi, Omphile Ditabo & Moses Moeng