South End Museum


The Museum reflects a bygone era of the suburb of South End from as early as 1920 until the implementation of the Group Areas Act in the 1960’s, which led to the destruction of the ‘old’ South End on the beachfront of Port Elizabeth. In the past, it was a bustling suburb, brimming with activity, and populated by a very cosmopolitan community.

It is situated on the beachfront on the corner of Humewood Road and Walmer Boulevard, South End. Close to a variety of hotels and B & B’s and self catering places It is very popular with tourists and visitors to the Eastern Cape.

The South End Museum is managed by the Museum Trust. The committee was started in 1999 when a group of people from the disadvantaged communities of Port Elizabeth who had been affected by the forced removals of the Group Areas Act, saw the need to

commemorate the past history of the suburb of South End. A public meeting of former South End residents was called at the City Hall by Yusuf Agherdien, Michael Barry and a few other people to establish the trust.

The old “Seaman’s Institute”, built in 1897 for the purpose of the caring of visiting Sailors, was on the verge of being totally neglected in the 1990’s, after the Seafarer’s Club could not sustain it any longer. The building was temporarily utilized as a Disco and thereafter vandalized. Most of the original doors and fittings were stolen. The building was in a very poor state when the trust took occupation.

Khoikhoi Project Khoi Project

This exhibition examines the historical development of all the people of South End. One of them being the historical importance of the indigenous Khoikhoi people.

Sports Exhibitions

Sports Display Launch – found upstairs – depicts sport from 1800’s to 1970. Phase 2 is about to start

The Heritage Trail

This trail was initiated by the Trustees of the South End Museum to draw attention to buildings and other sites in the area that survived the devastation of the Group Areas Act of the former Apartheid Government.

The suburb of South End, centrally situated in one of the best parts of Port Elizabeth, reflected how people of all race groups could live together in a harmonious way. The then government had laws of separate development on it's statute books and was dissatisfied with areas such as South End, and so people were forcibly removed from their homed with the people of colour suffering the most. They were sent off to distant areas of the city.

Most buildings in South End were flattened. Some were old and valuable and could have played an important role today especially in the tourist industry.

The intention of initiating the trail is, therefore, to remember the travesty of the Apartheid era as well as to observe the remaining historical sites.

The South End Museum was officially launched on Human Rights Day, 21 March 2001 by the Mayor Cllr.Nceba Faku at a very emotional function. The Trustees themselves on a voluntary basis carried out all the administration, exhibitions and functions and some renovations and improvements to the building.

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Text Credits: Hift and South End Museum

Photographs: South End Museum


Did You Know?

Port Elizabeth erected the first campanile in South Africa in 1921.

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Last updated:
3 October 2012 7:51