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The ‘Purple Shall Govern’, September 2, 1989

22 June 2018 by Lesley No Comment

The ‘Purple Shall Govern’, September 2, 1989

Poster, corner of Burg & Church

On a city walking tour it is very easy to get distracted by all the architecture, art and craft shops and walk passed this poster which shares the story of an important protest march which occurred towards the end of the dramatic eighties decade.

Protest marches against apartheid were illegal and on September 2, 1989, protesters on route to Parliament were stopped at the corner of Burg and Church streets.  As the protesters refused to move, the police retaliated with tear gas and a spraying of purple paint so that the fleeing protesters could be identified easily and detained.

One brave protester, climbed onto the armoured vehicle and turned the purple paint canon onto the police and surrounding buildings.  The next morning, grafiti on the walls “The Purple Shall Govern” injecting some humour into this significant event.

Poster on the corner of Burg and Church street

As you are walking from the African market on Greenmarket Square towards St George’s Cathedral, take a pause on the corner of Burg & Church streets and reflect on this event.

Eleven days later, 30,000 Capetonians marched in solidarity and peace after a request from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, this time the police did not interfere with this march against apartheid.


About Author

Lesley has been conducting private tours for the last 12 years. She specialises in South African history and the Cape wine region.

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