By Amelia Meyer
Port Elizabeth - Did You Know
Port Elizabeth is a fascinating city that continues to grow and develop. It has always enjoyed its reputation as a laid-back seaside retreat, but also boasts so much more to it than that. Here are some fascinating facts about “The Bay”:
•Port Elizabeth is also known as The Friendly City, The Windy City, Sport Elizabeth (for its love of all things activity-based), Ibhayi, Nelson Mandela Bay (although this includes Uitenhage and Despatch), The 10-minute City (since everything is supposedly within a 10-minute drive) and Algoa Bay (a very old-fashioned term).
•PE has one of the most temperate climates in the whole of the country. It is a tropical coastal climate, making it relatively consistent throughout the year. The regular breeze off the sea keeps midday temperatures down significantly.
•The airport here has been awarded as being one of the safest in South Africa in terms of its amenities, facilities and reaction to disaster.
•The building of the old University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) that is situated in Summerstrand, now part of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), was designed to resemble an owl, the animal representing wisdom.
•There are seven major townships in Port Elizabeth as well as many other informal settlements. These townships are Kwa-Zakhele, New Brighton, KwaDwesi, KwaMagxaki, Motherwell, Walmer and Zwide.
•The globally acclaimed Iron Man™ competition is hosted by Port Elizabeth every year (usually in April). This draws thousands of sportsmen and –women from around the world, as well as spectators.
•The country’s oldest bowling green is found in Port Elizabeth.
•PE is one of South Africa’s most important hotspots for the production of motor vehicles and their accessories.
•Port Elizabeth is the largest and most densely populated of the three towns comprising Nelson Mandela Bay.
•The first explorers to discover PE were the Portuguese in 1482. They used it as an important port for the ships travelling from Europe to India.
•Port Elizabeth was named by Sir Rufane Donkin after his wife, who had already died by that time, Elizabeth.
•Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is an amalgamation of the old UPE, Vista University and the Port Elizabeth Technikon. This makes it the largest university in the Eastern Cape and the Southern Cape.
•Famous sportsmen that were born in PE include Wayne Parnell (South African cricketer), Schalk Burger (Springbok rugby player), Robin Peterson (South African cricketer) and Ashwell Prince (South African cricketer).
•PE is well known for its stunning beaches, which stretch for some 40 kilometres along the coast.
•In addition to the automobile industry, Port Elizabeth also boasts the following major industries: shoe manufacturing, metal processing, timber processing and electrical engineering.
•PE was one of the Host Cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and had to have a stadium built especially for this event.
•PE folk are known as Port Elizabethans.
•The telephone area code is 041.
•Port Elizabeth is situated approximately halfway between Durban and Cape Town.