Centenary stamps celebrate growth of Friendly City

Tremaine van Aardt

TWO elderly Nelson Mandela Bay women have described the changes they have seen in Port Elizabeth which – in effect – has “grown up” with them.

But while the women are showing signs of age, they believe the city – which turns 100 this weekend – has shown signs of rejuvenation as it develops.

Uitenhage resident Sandra van Rooyen, who turns 100 in October, said she had seen the city flourish.

“I have seen Port Elizabeth progressively grow and spread in width and height [buildings]. And now my grandchildren tell me they are developing a harbour in Coega,” Van Rooyen said.

Gelvandale resident Mary Winchester, 100, agreed.

“The city and I have grown together but only one of us is getting old.”

To celebrate the centenary, the South African Post Office (Sapo) is issuing a set of 10 stamps capturing iconic landmarks around the Bay.

Founded as a town in 1820 to accommodate the British Settlers, Port Elizabeth was declared a city on July 28 1913, and Sapo spokesman Johan Kruger said they wanted to commemorate the centenary in a unique way as the city was the fifth biggest in the country.

“Stamps are South Africa’s smallest ambassadors, and Port Elizabeth is a historic part of this country which we felt needed to be celebrated,” Kruger said.

Five of the stamps have images of early buildings and developments. The images were derived from pictures and paintings found in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum’s archives. Pictured are the old Donkin Reserve, the “Sir Frederick” tug in the Port Elizabeth harbour, the birth of Port Elizabeth’s first township, the Site and Service township, the North End settlement and the old Uitenhage railway station.

The other five stamps – of the revamped Donkin Reserve, the Coega Industrial Development Zone, the Red Location Museum, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and the old court house in Uitenhage – were photographed by Port Elizabeth photographer Tim Hopwood.

The stamps will cost R196 per sheet and R19.60 for an individual stamp.

They are being launched at the Red Location Museum in New Brighton at 10am today.

Sapo’s celebrations will continue with a gala evening at the Boardwalk International Convention Centre in conjunction with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism at 6.30pm tomorrow.

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism also plans to commemorate this milestone by compiling an events calendar throughout the year to July next year.

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