Is historic Pretoria rainbow crossing already under threat?


The rainbow crossing in Pretoria may not be there for much longer (Pic: Malcolm De Klerk)

The fate of what’s said to be Africa’s first rainbow crossing is unclear just days after it was painted in Pretoria to mark Pride month.

MambaOnline was on Tuesday evening contacted by DA City of Tshwane Councillor Malcolm De Klerk who advised that lane markings and a zebra crossing in Church Square in the Pretoria CBD would be painted in the rainbow colours on Wednesday morning.

“I’m super excited to announce after three years of pushing and getting things done, we shall be painting Africa’s first rainbow crossing tomorrow. Proud to have started this and leave our queer mark on the City of Tshwane in South African Pride month,” De Klerk said.

On Wednesday, as planned, he and other City of Tshwane Councilors and Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) gathered at Church Square to make history by helping to paint the designs on the walkways.

Soon, after, however, De Klerk notified us that “we have been ordered by the Heritage Council to remove what we painted”.

He said he’d been told by the Chief Whip of the City Council that “the Heritage Council has more or less said it’s against the heritage of the area and it almost points to an attack on Afrikaans heritage with encroachment on Paul Kruger’s statue, which is 50 metres away.”

De Klerk noted that the area was part of a recently renovated City of Tshwane pavement.

MambaOnline contacted the National Heritage Council to confirm if it had indeed ordered the removal of the rainbow designs. Danny Legodi, Head of Communication & Stakeholder, told us over the phone that this was the first he’d heard about the matter.

As requested, we emailed our query for him to follow up with the Heritage Council’s CEO. We had not received a response at the time of publishing this article.

Rainbow pedestrian crossings have been painted across the world in support of the LGBTIQ+ community and to reflect a city or neighborhood’s affirmation of queer people.

De Klerk confirmed on Friday that the rainbow crossing is still in place and he is awaiting further clarification on the matter.

If you’re in the Pretoria area, now may be a good time to go see the rainbow crossing. It may not be there for much longer.

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