Weekend Post turns its spotlight on the Port Elizabeth suburb of Newton Park, home to radio personality Charl Leslie, who outlines why he enjoys the suburb so much
Popular Algoa FM personality Charl Leslie was born in Queenstown, but has lived in Port Elizabeth for many years and has made his home in Newton Park.
“We moved to PE when I was four. I’ve stayed here most of my life, aside from a few years in King William’s Town from late primary to the second year of high school,” he says.
Charl became involved in radio while doing a BCom degree at the then then University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University).
“I became involved in campus radio, causing me to spend a few more years than necessary at university,” Charl says with a chuckle. At the end of his final year, he successfully auditioned for the then Radio Algoa and hosted the 1am to 5am slot with university friend Martin Bester.
From there, he went on to host late nights, the afternoon drive, early evenings, the 9am to 12 noon slot and the lunchtime show. Five years ago, he became the music compiler and today he hosts the breakfast show on Sundays.
There’s more to Charl than just radio, though.
“Along the way my interest in cooking and food increased and following on from a restaurant profile feature (with Olga Hafner), I started Charl Cooks in 2003, which was summarised on air and reproduced in full on our website and in print,” he says.
The print version was discontinued a few years ago, but some recipes from the online archive are featured on the show each week. Charl has also lectured in kitchen management at Varsity College and hosted food-based fundraisers and food and wine pairings.
Home sweet home
Charl’s family were drawn to Newton Park because of its central location. While many homes have over the years been rezoned for business purposes – even on the more suburban side of Newton Park – and several developments have popped up, the area is still mostly quiet and family oriented, with businesses interspersed among the houses.
“It’s very well located as far as proximity to most things is concerned,” Charl says, adding that the area is also still relatively safe. Their family home started off as a standard house for the area, but they adapted and extended it several times over the years to accommodate their changing needs.
“It’s comfortable and well equipped, even if it’s not flashy,” he says. “It was a good buy by virtue of having great potential, but was fairly neglected at the time.”
Charl also enjoys the mix of families and young professionals, guesthouses and home businesses in the area.
“It seems mostly quiet, but actually there’s a lot going on.”
His favourite spot
His favourite part of the family home is the garden, which he says gets many visitors.
“It’s apparently a restaurant of sorts to an interesting mix of birds by virtue of a large grapevine, bird feeders and excess fruit hung in the trees for them,” he says.
Many of the erven in the area are large and, in spite of the drought, people make an effort with their gardens and homes, he says.
“There’s constant evolution and progress without harming the character of the neighbourhood.”
As a foodie, Charl enjoys the convenience of having the Continental Butchery nearby. He says it’s one of the city’s best butcheries and delis. He adds that with Greenacres Shopping Centre and The Bridge only a little more than 1km away and offering a wide variety of stores and eateries, all his shopping needs are taken care of.
Another of Charl’s favourite spots in Newton Park is the live music venue, The Music Kitchen in Mangold Street, which is only about 2km away from his home.
“There are still bargains to be found on a property level, there are four schools very close by and you’re not far from the historic Port Elizabeth Golf Club,” Charl says.
Charl’s perfect Sunday involves either a family braai (after a nap following his Sunday breakfast show) or meeting up with friends in the early evening.
“I’m not ashamed to be a couch potato, but also obviously enjoy cooking, whether simply for myself and my family or entertaining a few friends,” Charl says.
The median asking price for a typical property such as a three-bedroomed house in Newton Park is R1,48million.
You can expect to look at a price of around R670,000 for a property in a complex, and around R399,000 for an apartment.
Two out of three properties in Newton Park are houses, with a quarter of the properties in a complex and a further 9% – almost one in 10 – in a flat.
- Raak Koffie Winkel is a contemporary and popular cafe known for its generous breakfasts, delicious coffees and Banting-friendly offerings.
- Eataly in Worraker Street offers diners informal Italian food and hosts regular karaoke evenings, ladies’ nights and happy hours.
- The Silver Cloud Spur in Cape Road is a Newton Park institution and has seen generations of families marking milestones and celebrations.
- Norma Jean’s Coffee Shop in Newton Street is a sweet little Marilyn Monroe-themed coffee shop.
- Grillers in Cape Road is an American-style diner good for a bite on the run.
- If you enjoy a few cold beers with the mates, try Old School, The Blinking Owl or Die Opstaal
- Laerskool Newton Park
- Herbert Hurd Primary School
- Sunflower Montessori School
- Alexander Road High School
- Insight Learning Centre
- Westview High School
- Stimulantia Private School
- Newton Technical High School
- The Music Kitchen: a live music venue, pub and restaurant, which also hosts comedy nights
- Port Elizabeth Golf Club for a pleasant round of golf