During the South African War the British military authorities imported a large number of horses from Argentina. Unfortunately their fodder was infested with vermin, which carried Bubonic plague and, between 1901 and 1903, most of South Africa's major towns recorded outbreaks of this disease. The plague reached Port Elizabeth in 1901, and although its spread affected all sectors of the population, it was the black community who bore the brunt of the Plague Health Regulations. New Brighton Township grew around the railway station built in 1877. It includes Red Location, White Location, McNamee, Boastville, Elundini and KwaFord. Red Location is a settlement of mostly tin shanties. The name originated from the oxide colourant used to protect the corrugated iron structures and roofs from rust, which have become a trademark in the area. After the war the “Blacks” from Bubba’s location were housed here. White Location was the first economic housing scheme that was built there after the Urban Areas Act of 1923. Africans from Stranger’s Location, Russell Road and Coopers Kloof located here by 1904.
Social, Political and Historical Tours
Visitors who wish to explore South Africa’s politics and history, may opt for a number of organised social, historic and traditional township tours. These tours take you back in time and unveil how history, including the apartheid era, has made its impact on the area. In the townships one will see what limitations applied in the past and how people resisted and adapted.
Township life first-hand is not only a thought-provoking experience, but an experience filled with the joy of optimism and hope.
For marketers and planners, this is where the future of South Africa will be shaped. Various accredited tour operators offer social history / township tours and shebeen tours.
Some of these tours will include visits to places of historical and political importance, as well as the ever-popular “Shebeens” (informal traditional bars). In addition you will be treated to African music, dances and traditional food by the hospitable Xhosa people. Guided tours of the townships offer an alternative to the glossy pre-packaged “bus window” view of South Africa. Tour operators and guides strive to give tourists the opportunity to meet “the people” and understand the many issues of our diverse country and region! Shebeens (informal traditional bars) were once ‘illegal’ because they were not licensed for the sale of liquor, but have now (legally) become a lively cross between social clubs, a bar and a general meeting place. A shebeen tour offers an entertaining 3 – 4 hours of insight into the life and soul of the townships. Shebeens come alive over weekends when hard work is replaced by beer and laughter. These venues are found on every street corner and add to the atmosphere of township life. Amid hooting taxis and eager pedestrians, the shebeen offers a great venue where patrons can relax and unwind.
The Red Location Museum of Struggle, which can be found on the corner of Olof Palme and Singaphi Streets, New Brighton, is a must-see on any visitor’s itinerary. The museum, which was opened in November 2006, commemorates South Africa’s turbulent apartheid history and long struggle for freedom. Several prestigious awards have been bestowed on the museum for its magnificent architecture and it is one of four of its kind in South Africa. The museum is situated in the historical Red Location, the city’s first black township, where the first urban Black families settled in the 1900s.
The many tour operators, tour guides and travel agents offer a variety of tours to select from, so you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for!
In 1902 most of Port Elizabeth's black suburbs were demolished, the personal belongings of their residents were arbitrarily destroyed, and restrictions were imposed upon inter-town travel. The racially segregated suburb of New Brighton was established in 1902 on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, some 8km north of the city centre, to house families who had been displaced during the plague outbreak.
By 1911 its population had grown to 3,650 persons, almost all of them are Black!.
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism