AS a former South Ender I am delighted that Rose Cowpar, of the PE Gilbert and Sullivan Society, has agreed to produce a musical based on Herbie Clayton’s version of the once thriving cosmopolitan suburb called South End (“South End: the musical”, February 1).
Although Clayton never grew up in South End, he claims to have researched the subject thoroughly to avoid offending anyone.
I concur that current and future generations should know the facts about the diabolical decision taken by the former regime to dismantle a fully functional and integrated society, through forced removal and the Group Area’s Act.
Some of the homes bulldozed and destroyed were charming Victorian cottages rich in architectural terms.
I have the names and addresses of thousands of families who once lived in harmony in the old South End from 1864 to 1964.
The impression has often been created that only coloured and Indian folk were disenfranchised and forcefully removed. This is not true.
My own family, who were forced to move from our humble home which had been in our family for three generations, was also heartbroken and not adequately compensated by the government. So-called “whites” were also the victims of an unjust act of social engineering carried out by ruthless officials from the then Community Development Department of the government.
Many former residents from diverse ethnic groups can testify of the profound effect that the removals had and still have on their lives today.
So I appeal to Clayton, the writer and director of the Sounds of South End, to ensure that his audience and the general public are made aware of the truth that thousands of Chinese, Malays, blacks, Greeks, coloureds, Indians, Portuguese and Afrikaans and English speaking whites were also removed and uprooted from a place once called home.
I wish Clayton every success and call on ex-South Enders to take their children and grandchildren to the show.
Bruce Woolard, Framesby Ext, Port Elizabeth