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Long walk to Pretoria to save 'historic' building

By unknown | Aug 15, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

Joseph Marble was all worked up as he began his 24-hour walk from Industria West to Pretoria to save a building his community has cherished for years.

Marble, 45, of Newclare in Johannesburg, expects to arrive at the Union Buildings, where he will hand over a memorandum to the office of Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan, at noon today.

"I am ready. This time I won't even sleep but walk through the night," he said.

Last year, Marble walked to Pretoria to protest against crime.

He is chairman of the South African Writers Union and Art Council which runs a bookshop and gallery in the two-storey building at 50 Commando Road. First used as offices in the early 1980s, it was sold to Infoteam in 2004.

It was unoccupied in 2005 and ended up being vandalised. Companies started renting office space and by last year there were 14 of them.

But, in June the owner told them to vacate the building by the end of this month so that he could demolish it.

"We only came here in March," Marble said.

"This building means a lot to us because it was used by activists to hide during the apartheid era. We want it to be a recognised as a heritage site."

He wants to raise funds to buy the building and turn it into an arts and culture centre.


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