Eastern Cape

We South Africans live in a polyglot society, which under our Constitution, has 11 official languages that “must enjoy parity of esteem and must be treated equitably”. Mother tongues range from Afrikaans to IsiZulu, from isiXhosa to Setswana, however to stop us being a modern Tower of Babel we largely use one language to communicate between each other and that is English. In doing so we are reflecting a world wide trend. In today’s world English has become the “Lingua Franca” replacing French as the language of diplomacy and German in the field of science.

In the article below, first published in the Gold Fields Review 1992-1993, Eris Malan tells the story of the discovery of a remarkable set of documents that filled a significant gap in the priceless Gold Fields Collection. She also traces some of the history behind the Collection including the process that led to the Cory Library at Rhodes University becoming the custodian. The article has been shortened by The Heritage Portal Team.

The last few years have not been kind to the Gately House Museum in East London. Due to ongoing security problems the museum is no longer open to the public and artefacts have been relocated for safekeeping (click here for details). Despite the depressing current situation it is fascinating to look at some of the history of the house and the battle to save it a half a century ago.

Below is an absorbing and practical article looking at lettering on buildings. It was compiled by Dennis Radford for the October 1988 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.

We are honoured to publish this wonderful archive piece on the early history of Uitenhage. It was compiled by well known heritage practitioner Albrecht Herholdt and apperared in the 1988 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.

One of the most striking buildings in Port Elizabeth is the famous Campanile. In the article below, Tennyson Smith Bodill reveals the history behind the creation of this remarkable structure. The piece was originally published in the April 1989 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.

The following article on the history of the Victoria Bridge near Fort Beaufort appeared in the 1985 edition of Restorica, the old journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish. Although the bridge is still in existence, local activists are concerned that it may not survive for long as it is being used by very heavy trucks and stress cracks have started to appear.

The following article, looking at the history of the Old Rectory in Plettenberg Bay, was written by Patricia Storrar and appeared in the 1981 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). For current details on the structure and more history of Plettenberg Bay contact the local historical society (click here for details). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.

Below is another gem of an article from the Restorica archive. The piece highlights some interesting aspects of the history of the landmark Cape St Francis Lighthouse. Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) and the Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA) for giving us permission to publish.

In 1996 the Christian Science Church in Port Elizabeth was illegally demolished. City Councillor Rory Riorden was furious and penned an article for Restorica which we have republished below. Restorica was the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.

The following article on the history of the Port Elizabeth Railway Station was originally published in the October 1986 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). It formed part of a larger piece titled "The coming of the Railway to the Cape". Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.

Below is an incredibly powerful and detailed case study compiled by Dennis Radford in 1986. It looks at the restoration of 4 Anglo-African Street in Grahamstown and the creation of the Eastern Star Museum. The article was first published in Restorica, the old journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria for giving us permission to publish.

[Originally published in 2013] When Elizabeth Anne Greyvensteyn first started selling rusks to her local community over seventy years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that her humble business would grow to become one of South Africa’s most iconic brands. Now employing over 250 people, the Ouma Rusks factory in Molteno is the lifeblood of the town’s small economy, owned by South Africa’s third largest food producer Foodcorp.

We found the following article by B.I. Spaanderman in the 1991 edition of the old Johannesburg Historical Foundation's journal Between the Chains. It looks at a number of South African mills with a particular focus on Millbank, the closest to Johannesburg.

A few years ago we were involved in a battle to save historic Nedbank documents that were being thrown away by the company. For a while the future of the documents looked bleak but thankfully the story had a happy ending when top Nedbank executives got involved. The documents were moved to the Sandton head office and the execs committed to hire an archivist to go through the collection. The execs also committed to let the community know what was found and what would then be done with the documents.*

It is hard to imagine that the magnificent Port Elizabeth City Hall was almost demolished. The article below, first published in the Evening Post in January 1973, describes a meeting organised by the Port Elizabeth Historical Society where arguments on both sides of the preservation versus development debate were presented. We stumbled across the article in Bulletin, the old journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa).

A few years ago a wonderful collection of old documents was found in the basement of a Johannesburg inner city building while the tenant (Nedbank) was moving out. One of the boxes we looked at contained details of Nedbank's 50th anniversary celebrations (circa 1938). It was here we found a remarkable set of images of a few Town / City Halls around the country. It appears as though the photographs were taken in the late 1930s. Enjoy...

 

The following article appeared in the 1998 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Jonathan Mercer, then Assistant City Engineer Planning for Port Elizabeth, posed some tough questions about planning and enforcement in our cities. Many of his points are still relevant today. Thank you to the University of Pretoria (Restorica copyright holders) for allowing us to publish the piece.

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