It seems everyone is supporting the Springboks this week ahead of the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday (October 28), and the City of Tshwane has taken it’s ‘gees’ (spirit) a step further.
‘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, MD of City Property.
“Our blood is green. We are extremely proud of what our team has achieved so far. 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,” Wapnick added.
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 its support for the Boks, but also to create awareness for Church Square and Tshwane as a tourist destination.
City Property are also members of the Church Square Revival Project, which aims to revive the city as a tourist destination and public space.
“We had this idea after the Boks won their semi-final 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,” said Wapnick.
The number six on the back was non-negotiable. Like all South Africans, the property management company is inspired by former President, Nelson Mandela who wore the number 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 number six shirt.
“We believe the qualities Siya exudes as a person and leader are something all of us can aspire 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!” concluded Wapnick.