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South Africa has become the first country on the continent to install Pride crosswalks in its major cities.

Pretoria on October 20 installed the pedestrian crossings. Cape Town followed suit two days later.

Pride crosswalks have been installed in various countries in Europe and the Americas to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ and intersex people. Some activist groups in South Africa have long called for them to settle in the country.

“Church Square is where most of the Apartheid buildings are located and in the shadow is the father of the Afrikaans nation, Paul Kruger. This is the heart of Apartheid, to have this the first in such a conservative city is groundbreaking,” said Bruce Walker of Pretoria Pride.

“By showing that 2SLGBTQIA+ rights can be accepted here, we can move forward and show the world that we are moving in the right direction and that we can be a beacon of light for conservative Africa,” Walker added. “With South Africa building the bid to host World Pride here in Africa, this shows that the population is moving towards tolerance, but we have a long way to go to end all the old conservative ways of thinking.”

Cape Town Councilor Rob Quintas, a member of the city’s Mayor’s Urban Mobility Committee, said the Pride pedestrian crossing, which is located along the busy Somerset Road between Alfred and Dixon streets in Green Point, is meant to make everyone feel welcome.

“You cannot miss the Pink Route, it is about 20 cm. wide, and painted on the sidewalk. This is a fun way for visitors to get to know the area and a great addition to our tour offering shortly before the peak holiday season. It is also intended to raise awareness and celebrate Cape Town as an inclusive city,” Quintas said. “This exciting place-building seal activator is the first of its kind in Cape Town and aims to reinvigorate the bustle of the 2SLGBTQIA+ district using road markings.”

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“There are many more spaces in the city that can be looked at in the future and where heritage or unique attractions can be expanded through the use of sidewalks and crosswalks. I call on visitors and residents to be aware of this junction and follow the Pink Route as you explore this part of our city,” added Quintas.

Cape Town Councilor Frances ‘Phranki’ Lombard said the Green Point Crosswalk was a fantastic statement for Cape Town and the world.

“This crosswalk is a fantastic statement to the world and to Cape Town that 2SLGBTQIA+ rights are not something to be hidden away but in fact we celebrate the freedom and rights of all people in this city of Cape Town. Lombard said.

“When we contrast this with the reality in some parts of South Africa where hate crimes against lesbians are a common phenomenon and when governments make such bold statements, it sets up a symbol for society of what is right and what is wrong.” possible,” Lombard added. . “Cape Town continues to push what is possible in an open liberal society, something that I hope will spread throughout South Africa.”

Ruth Maseko of the Triangle Project, however, said the Green Point crosswalk location was more exclusive than inclusive.

“We believe that this should be questioned. For us, how much money it took to do this and it’s in a very particular position,” Maseko said. “It’s in Green Point, the same place where Cape Town Pride takes place. This speaks to exclusivity and how the city of Cape Town appears to a particular segment of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.”

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“What do you do for those communities of 2SLGBTQIA+ people whose lives are in danger, who are unemployed or homeless and live in the city and are harassed by law enforcement?” Maseko asked.

Daniel Itai is the Africa correspondent for the Washington Blade.