A small South African town is turning into a rainbow city thanks to their amazing idea…

Rainbow Village

The Port St Johns Tourism Forum has turned their town into an Instagram worthy holiday destination. After years of mismanagement, a group took it into their own hands to promote the seaside town. It’s incredible what rainbow paint can do…


Over the last decade, Port St Johns located on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape has struggled to find the funding to boost their tourism. The community has had to face 10 years of mismanagement and lack of funding. The community members, feeling frustrated and worried their town would be forever forgotten, came together to start an independent body to manage the tourism of the town.

“Elsa van der Merwe and I decided that either we carry on dying a slow death, or we get an independent body going. Which we did, 2 1/2 years ago. So far so good. We’re independent and self-funded enthusiastic members, and we generally get things done. Somehow, we get invited to NDT (National Department of Tourism) planning meetings!” – Kathryn Costello

The tourism body had a meeting to discuss how to boost the profile of the town and draw holidaymakers in. An idea was put forward, to use the Indonesian Rainbow Village as inspiration and the tourism body approved it. The town quickly set up a competition and got the entire community involved in turning Port St Johns into a rainbow town.

Elsa and Kathryn started painting the bridges leading into the town and the effect was beautiful!

“The second bridge had a whole lot more painters, and the third bridge, Bulolo Bridge, had the Silaka Nature Reserve staff volunteer. Second Beach was a big mixture of people, it was lovely, because the young guys who hang around there, took ownership of ‘their’ turf and grabbed paint and brushes, and we basically painted anything which didn’t move. There are generally no rules as to what gets painted what colour, volunteers mix and paint as they want to. The Bulolo bridge’s colours were planned – artist Juliet Lesley took charge of that, and instructed everybody on what colour went where to get a real rainbow effect.”

The community has had loads of paint donated to the cause and they have made great progress, not only in the town but in the nearby township as well.

Paint wise: We have been sponsored by a local hardware: Entabeni. Their owner, Mohammed Abdul, has also ‘adopted’ the location, Mthumbane Township, and keeps it nice and clean, and to a lesser degree by some of our members. Boardman Brothers, who produce Newden paints have really come to the party, and are sending down 25 x 20l paint, and Plascon is sending 12 x 20l paint, which will all go along way, to making our little town happy looking.

So if you are looking for a unique and Instagram worthy road trip, check out the revamped Port St Johns. You can find out more about the town and the competition here.

Sources: Supplied
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

1 Comment

  1. John Perry

    February 10, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Excellent work Port St Johns.Potentially one of the most beautiful villages in SA. Hopefully this initiative will lead to other inprovements, starting with litter removal and instilling a culture of not littering.

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