The South End Museum.

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Port Elizabeth - The South End Museum

Port Elizabeth has a fascinating history, particularly in terms of its pre-Apartheid era and the changes that occurred when the regime gained power. South End was once a vibrant neighbourhood; home to coloured, Indian, black and Chinese South Africans, amongst others.

As such, it was a recognised non-white suburb. It was characterised by busy family-owned shops, colourful houses and children playing soccer in the streets. This community was one that placed a high importance on education, socialising with one another and religion (despite there being a number of different religions within this cohesive neighbourhood).

When the Apartheid regime came into power in 1948, though, this pulsating, colourful community was almost crushed under the strict laws that promoted racial inequality. The families were displaced to areas that lay further out of the hub of Port Elizabeth, sometimes forcing them to establish informal settlements (townships) in less than liveable conditions.

The South End Museum is a testimony to the original South End Community, the displacement and tragedies of Apartheid and the many heroes that emerged during the Apartheid time, particularly in the Eastern Cape. It provides fascinating insights into the different cultures that make up the South African population.

Formal tours are conducted, providing insightful glimpses into the old and new South End. This tour covers a variety of aspects, including:

•Home Life in Old South End – immerse yourself into a ‘day in the life’ scenario, expressed by the genuine furniture and utensils of yesteryear.
•The History of South End
•The Cape Malay Community – this community made up a large proportion of the local South End population. Mostly Muslims, the Cape Malays were a family-oriented group of people.
•The Indian Community – Indians were either Muslim or Hindu. In addition to being particularly social, Indians were also fabulous businessmen.
•Resistance Leaders – there were a number of men and women - black, white, coloured, Indian, Chinese, Jewish, Malay, and so on – that worked very hard to overcome the laws and opposition that Apartheid inflicted. This exhibition is dedicated to the efforts and lives of such ones.
•Dawid Stuurman and Molly Blackburn – these two exhibitions reveal the lives of the people behind the legends. They provide intimate insights into their histories, theories regarding their deaths and reams of newspaper articles.
•Sports – the sports exhibition showcases the hundreds of sportsmen and –women that came from the vibrant South End suburb, but who were held back by governmental restrictions, prevented from excelling in their field.
•Fishing and Angling – due to its proximity to the harbour and beaches of Port Elizabeth, fishing was a very important industry in the lives and economy of South End. The exhibition displays a number of authentic pieces of equipment used in the fishing industry in years past.
•Music and Dancing – the old South Enders were known for their parties. These were usually held in school halls, which glittered as jazz and swing bands played fun ditties and couples danced in elegant outfits. Many of the popular bands went on to gain acclaim further afield, and are also mentioned in this fascinating display.

Tours are conducted for local and international visitors, but also for school groups. In fact, the South End Museum tailors presentations to fit into the provided curriculum for that particular group.

To secure a full, comprehensive tour, make your booking by contacting the museum on +27 41 582 3325.

http://www.southendmuseum.co.za/