Culture, science: we’ve given a lot to the world

Brian Hayward

 NELSON Mandela Bay’s heritage stretches across sporting and cultural spheres and into national and international firsts in the fields of science and technology.

Back when it was a small settlement in the 1800s, the city was attracting movers and shakers such as American author Mark Twain, as well as British businessman and politician, Cecil John Rhodes, who were said to have given public lectures and stayed at Central’s Grand Hotel.

It is also believed adventurer David Livingstone stayed in the Bay to stock up on supplies before moving inland.

Real estate mogul Pam Golding grew up in the Bay and attended Collegiate High School, while internationally known haute couture designer Jenni Button also grew up in the city and now is a globetrotter, thanks to her successful clothing label.

The Bay is also home to prolific businessman, Saki Macozoma, who spent five years in prison on Robben Island during apartheid.

 In 1994 he became an MP but left the legislature in 1996 and went into private business, becoming chairman of numerous high-profile companies, such as the Standard Bank Group, Liberty and the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Another of the city’s exports is Xstrata CEO Mick Davis.

 The former Theodor Herzl High School pupil commands a salary of more than R37-million a year after transforming a relatively small, unsuccessful mining business into one of the biggest companies in the world, with 65000 people in 19 countries.

 When it comes to inventions, the city has made – and is making – waves both nationally and globally.

It was home to Rory Stear, who went on to start Freeplay Energy, the company responsible for inventing the wind-up radio in 1996.

The Bay can also be thanked for the invention of the ever-popular Pool Gobbler swimming pool cleaner.

In 2008, NMMU won the Technology Innovation Agency’s National Innovation Competition with the invention of an environmentally-friendly alternative to zinc oxide in tyres, called the Rubber Nano Products Liquid Activation System or RNPX, developed by Robert Bosch.

In 1994, Port Elizabeth was the first city in South Africa to establish a fully-integrated, democratic local authority – the first non-racial council – with the country’s first black mayor, Nceba Faku, at its helm.

Thanks to its unique coastal climate, the Bay has been rated as having the fourth best weather of any coastal city in the world.

Southern Californian cities are rated first, second and third.

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