Unrest in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is still close to my heart as I was raised there. I only relocated to Joburg after completing my articles as there were no work opportunities there. Due to the numerous protest actions nationally mainly as a result of service delivery – poor, non-existent or shoddy – it is a daily occurrence throughout South Africa. Due to the number of these riots, they receive little publicity. For me this one did. My paternal grandmother Daisy Elizabeth McCleland, the family matriarch, lived at 99 Albert Street which judging by the photographs is slightly off the epicentre of some of these riots.

For those who are familiar with Port Elizabeth like I am, these photographs are indicative of a society that is non-functional. Like many cities in the new South Africa, Port Elizabeth is plagued with rampant corruption, crumbling infrastructure and egregious incompetence.

Protest in Walmer#18

As one of the oldest cities in South Africa it has a slew of historical buildings with the area adjacent to the CBD being a veritable treasure trove of historical buildings. As the current administration displays no enthusiasm for the perseveration of this heritage, no efforts are being undertaken to protect it. Iconic 19th century architecture is rare in Africa, this could serve as a tourist drawcard much like the French sector in New Orleans.

Protest in Walmer#20

With myopic minds in charge possessing rapacious hands to boot, this opportunity to capitalise on this asset will not be monetarised. It might not represent the wilful destruction of historical buildings such as is being evidenced by ISIS’s actions in Syria and Iraq, but the end result result is the same.

Only when will the city bemoan and lament the fact of its destruction.

Protest in Walmer#2 Protest in Walmer#3 Protest in Walmer#5 Protest in Walmer#6 Protest in Walmer#7 Protest in Walmer#8 Protest in Walmer#9 Protest in Walmer#10 Protest in Walmer#11 Protest in Walmer#12 Protest in Walmer#13 Protest in Walmer#14 Protest in Walmer#15 Protest in Walmer#16 Protest in Walmer#18 Protest in Walmer#21



  1. Hi Dean
    This is regretfully indicative of a society unable to deal with problems in an civil/business like manner. Mob rule and destruction of property has become the norm. If you do not physically display your displeasure with authority you are not seen nor heard.

    In 1994 I started a petition objecting to the the sale and rezoning of parkland in Benoni. Needless to say the buyer was an ex Nat councilor (so nothing has changed!, at least we now have Freedom of Expression.)

    On the final day of the Council meeting, after collecting in excess of 2000 signatures (my children still do not want to talk to me about it), my wife, an unknown third party and I were the only ones to present our case to council.

    During questioning time, I was asked by a newly elected Councilor,”why did you not toyi toyi?” I could not answer because this was an unknown to me!

    Perhaps that says it all!

    We are sitting on a powder keg , and or when, will the people in power start listening?

    I have no ax to grind with anybody, a statue, to me, is a statue, I may ponder and read who or what he or she was all about, and move on. Now we have to remove/relocate and ultimately deny history (ours/theirs) Perhaps it is true, history is in the eye of the beholder.


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