Port Elizabeth of Yore: Korsten – A Subtext for Freedom

Human nature seeks freedom and the best for themselves and their children. It is an innate urge. By now the dismal track record of politically motivated false choices should have been exposed as a chimera. So it was for Korsten. Instead of readily agreeing to their being relocated to the new “model township” of New Brighton, the black residents of the inner-city locations defied the authorities and moved to an unserviced area outside the municipal boundaries called Korsten.

Thus Korsten’s roots are nourished by the natural human desire for freedom.

Main picture: Elkana Street, a respectable area in Korsten where children play happily in the street

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Black Settlements Part 3

By the 1890s, Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth possessed four Locations: Strangers’ Location off Mount Road, Cooper’s Location off Albany Road, the Reservoir Location off Mount Road and Gubb’s Location in Mill Park. Despite immense pressure from white residents to relocate the residents to Locations further from white residential areas, this had never materialised mainly due to inertia and cost. 

Events after the turn of the century would ultimately witness the actualisation of these dreams and the clearing of the original western Locations. 

Main picture: Burning of huts in Stranger’s Location in 1903

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Black Settlements Part 2

It was only subsequent to the establishment of the first Location in Port Elizabeth – Strangers’ Location – that the pattern of future residential developments in Port Elizabeth would become apparent.

This blog deals with the trials and tribulations of the African population in their quest for accommodation in the rapidly expanding town of Port Elizabeth as their needs were increasingly subordinated to those of the larger white community. Both were settlers in a new land, yet the Africans were allocated tiny pockets of land at the extremities of the white residential area, required for their labour but otherwise to be hidden from view.

Main picture: In the 1800s, the first Location was called Strangers Location, in what is now Richmond Hill, between Campbell and Stanley streets  Continue reading

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Black Settlements Part 1

These settlements were never called suburbs or townships but colloquially these residential areas were known as locations ab initio. What is less well known is that there were various black settlements in Port Elizabeth from its earliest days. Their inhabitants were generally Khoi but later came the amaMfengu after the British authorities granted them rights to live here in 1851.

Conspicuously absent from central Port Elizabeth is even fragmentary evidence of their location dwellings or artefacts. All that remains of these settlements are some footnotes to history. Ultimately these residents were relocated to Red Location and New Brighton in the early part of the 20th century.

This blog attempts to set that right.

Main picture: Part of Stranger’s Location at the top of the hill next to Russell Road with its beehive style huts

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