the changing face of Church Square
June 13, 2008
One of my most favourite places in Pretoria must be Church Square. The historic centre of Pretoria, now feared by too many people.
When I first came to Pretoria, the Sunnyside name board in Lynnwood road was the kind of border, going past this border meant going into a danger zone. In my third year myself and two friends had to make a drive through the inner city (in daytime), and for the first time I got the idea that this place might not be that bad, might even be very interesting. In my fourth year I got the job of running outreaches at Universiteitsoord, and started investigating inner city projects. Early into my fifth year we had our first for the outreach group on church square, sitting in our context while talking about it.
Last night we took some friends to the inner city, to show them around. Some parents were somewhat worried (I think my mother was one of them), and some of my friends really feared what was going to happen. Over and over those of us who knew the inner city told them not to worry.
Now, I’m aware that there are more dangerous places than church square, but currently church square must be one of the places in the city where I feel most safe at night! Walking around I was again surprised at the amount of kids on church square at night, and this time also by the families walking around. One family (see photo’s) that really interested me was a father and mother who was telling their kid about Paul Kruger. Café Riche is the home of the Filosofiekafee, situated on church square, and we had coffee there before heading over to the union buildings to look at the city lights.
I get the feeling that church square is more and more being visited by middle-class black people. Might be wrong, but this is my perception from visiting it at night a couple of times over the past 18 months. Later in the evening we were in Hatfield, and I suddenly realised that I felt more safe on church square than I have in Hatfield. I didn’t even worry about working on my cellphone or camera in church square (I guess the kids really have a calming effect), but in Hatfield I constantly feel like I should just watch out!
Click to see some of the photo’s
The South African flag with historical as well as modern high-rise buildings in background, taken from the centre of Church Square
The black family I overheard teaching their kid about Paul Kruger
View from the Union Building gardens The Union Building