Let’s treasure our unique heritage

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AFTER receiving complaints from visitors to the St Mary’s Cemetery at the bottom of the Baakens Valley, I was horrified at what I saw when I went there for an on-site inspection. St Mary’s is one of the oldest cemeteries where many of our city’s founders are laid to rest.

I found two shacks that were built on graves, one beneath bushes, many vandalised graves that are being used as toilet facilities, a washing line with washing on it, burnt-out fires and many ripped-open rubbish bags with the most disgusting filth you can imagine.

Being a member of the public health sub-committee for parks and cemeteries I had no option but to immediately intervene.

I made contact with the relevant official and was very impressed when I was given an undertaking that the situation would be rectified the following day. The next day the shacks were removed and I trust that the rubbish and dead fallen-over trees will also be removed shortly.It should be kept in a spotless condition as the Old Tramways building across the road will one of these days be completed and many tourists will be visiting this area.

This cemetery is also the setting of thrilling ghost tours and evening walks. I want to hang my head in shame at what I have seen there. What a disgrace!

It is so sad to see our city’s treasures being vandalised and not being looked after. Being Heritage Month, I think it is appropriate for me and all the citizens of this friendly city filled with history to again request the authorities in power to treasure the heritage of our past. I agree with the person who said that if you do not know where you come from, you have no idea where you are going to.

We have such a beautiful city. Let’s treasure our unique heritage!

DA Councillor Brenda Matthee

5 thoughts on “Let’s treasure our unique heritage

  • July 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Today I went past the Donkin on the way to SARS.The Donkin is full of weeds ,stones and rubbish and is very scruffy and run down! One of the ,”Surfing” art pieces is covered in Graffiti.Walking down Parliament Street I found rubbish and the old concrete seat frames that are set in alcoves,The wood has rotted away and only the concrete frames remain! Why not repair the seats by replacing the wood? The Victorian Houses that run down Parliament seem half finished with doors banked off.How can tourists visit the Donkin and take photos? The A.N.C. has ZERO pride in Port Elizabeth!They allowed tramps to live in Fort Frederick and build houses in the Baakens Valley Graveyard! Whatever next!!!

  • July 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    maybe this might get fixed now. since the fort is now tourist friendly

  • June 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I would just like to say that after seeing this I wrote to the councellor named here.

    didn’t receive any response.

    that was some time ago now.

  • June 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    It is absolutely shocking and unacceptable for this to continue!

    I went there last week and found the cemetery in a dreadful state with litter and vagrant junk strewn all over the graves and the site in general.

    This is not a public park, it is the last resting place for some very special people who founded our city.
    They deserve respect and we need to do something permanent to wipe this out.


    1820 settler descendant

    • June 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      as someone who wanted to visit the graves last sa winter/uk summer. I was shocked to see what this place looked like.

      homeless people, drugs and prostitution are side by side with Victoria cross winners and the founders of the city.

      if the local council wont look after it. cant local people and indeed the family of those buried here do something!


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