We arrived in Port Elizabeth on the evening of Sunday, September 01. Beginning today and every day, we will be picked up by Calabash Tours, which is a small company that started as an entrepreneurial dream and became a reality through dedication, vision and commitment. Started in 1997 by local Port Elizabeth couple, Paul and Thandi Miedema, the company has grown from strength to strength.
We were picked up by Nelson Sebezela who was born and raised in Kwazakhele Township, Port Elizabeth. Nelson is a remarkable young man who has been studying towards his law degree while working with Calabash Tours. From a typical township family, Nelson has been instrumental in developing the tourist experience in the township.
First Nelson took us on a tour of Port Elizabeth, which is one of the largest cities in South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province and nicknamed “The Friendly City” or “The Windy City.” Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa. It now forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality which has a population of over 1.3 million.
The effects of the apartheid regime were not lost within Port Elizabeth. Forced relocation of the non-white population under the Group Areas Act began in 1962, causing various townships to be built. The whole of the South End district, being a prime real estate location, was forcibly depopulated and flattened in 1965; relocations continued until 1975. Since the multiracial elections of 1994, Port Elizabeth has faced the same problems as the rest of South Africa, more especially lack of foreign and government investment, HIV/AIDS and a general increase in crime.
Next, he took us to tour the two primary school for which we all would be doing internships; W. B. Tshume and Charles Duna Primary Schools.
W. B. Tshume looks run down and is lacking in resources, but the staff appeared to be an incredible team of positive and pro-active individuals with hearts of gold.
Charles Duna Primary School specializes in Ordinary, where a little over 1,000 children go each day to learn.
Below are pictures of the community in which the children that attend these two schools reside.