- by Geoff
Nelson Mandela Bay is named after the world icon and former statesman, Dr Nelson Mandela. This tour seeks to share the heritage of the Friendly City (nickname for Port Elizabeth).
The Khoisan was the first people to settle in this area. Evidence of their presence is found in names of rivers, meadens and fishing nets. The next group to settle here was AmaXhosa, who are part of Nguni people. This was followed by European setters and last but not least slaves that were brought from Asia at different times to come and work here.
South End Museum- South End is sometimes referred to as “The shame of Port Elizabeth”. The South End community was cosmopolitan with people of all races, cultures and religion living side by side. The peaceful co-existence of this community was disrupted with the introduction of apartheid legislation like the Group Areas Act. People of colour were forcibly removed to the Northern Areas. Families were broken up and friends separated. The Museum tells the story of the forced removals and attendant pain visited upon the families and the community.
Another exhibition that is of interest is that of Dawid Stuurman, a Khoi freedom fighter who mounted resistance to the occupation of his motherland by Europeans. He was imprisoned on Robben Island from which he escaped twice. After the second escape, Stuurman was banished to Queensland, Australia where he died. There were attempts to repatriate his remains but the plan is now to repatriate his spirit to his ancestral land.
Vuyisile Mini Square- The square is named after Vuyisile Mini who was one of the first ANC Military wing, Umkhonto Wesizwe members to be executed by the apartheid regime in 1964. We will highlight few buildings that are of significance including the City Hall built in 1862, the Feather Market Centre, City Library which served as a Magistrates Court, Old Wool Board, the Bakeens Street Police Station, Old Post Office and Newspaper House. Last but not least is the oldest theatre in Africa, the Opera House. Vuyisile Mini Square forms part of Route 67 which starts at the Campanile past Norwich to Donkin Reserve. A massacre of 23 workers happened in this square in 1920.
Donkin Reserve - Donkin Reserve is named after Sir Rufane Donkin, the Acting Governor of the Cape Colony who came to meet the arriving party of 4000 British Settlers in 1820. He built a pyramid in memory of his wife, Lady Elizabeth who had died whilst Donkin was stationed in India. He gave his wife’s name to the city.
Donkin Reserve forms part of Route 67, a project fashioned after the number of years dedicated by Madiba to public life and the betterment of his people. There are various works of art that depict life in Nelson Mandela Bay, extracts from speeches by the former president with the recent addition being memorial stones to City Cllrs that died whilst in the service to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay. We also have the second tallest flag pole in Africa (at 60m), a flag that measures 150m2 and weighs 13kg. he last artwork we will focus on is the Voting Line, fashioned after the first democratic elections of 1994.
Red Location – We will do a tour of few sites in New Brighton including the Emlotheni Memorial Park. We will also stop at Mati Road to mark the March of Hope led by Rev George Irvine in 1990.
Red Location is the oldest township in New Brighton. The first Act of Defiance was led by Oom Ray (Raymond Mhlaba) in 1952 in which he led a group of 30 volunteers on a march to New Brighton Station earning him the title “vulindlela” meaning the trailblazer or one who leads the way. Nelson Mandela came to launch the M-plan in Red Location in 1952. Some of the first members of the Luthuli Detachment came from New Brighton. Umkhonto Wesizwe launched their first acts of sabotage here in Port Elizabeth with the bombing of the Bantu Administration Board Offices.
All the sites we have visited so far talk to why we now call ours The Home of Freedom.
Jazz Studio- We will visit one of New Brighton’s jazz studio or be entertained by a marimba band
Tour duration: 4-5 hours
Tour Price: R600 including light refreshments, entry fees, an English speaking guide, and transport to and from the hotel