IN a bid to remember and preserve the history of South End, Yusuf Agherdien, who in 1997 published the book South End as we knew it has published a follow-up called South End – gone, but not forgotten.
The new book was launched at the Gelvandale Library on Saturday.
Both books recount the rich and cosmopolitan history of South End. Although residents of South End were forcibly removed more than 50 years ago, their history is deeply etched within them and Port Elizabeth.
“South End will always remain in the hearts of the people who walked its streets, lived there and experienced its unequalled and harmonious existence, which was brutally destroyed by the laws of separate development,” said Agherdien.
He believes South End was one of South Africa’s “unique” suburbs, comparable to District Six in Cape Town and Fordsburg in Johannesburg. It was thoroughly cosmopolitan. This diversity can be seen in the voters roll of 1905, which is also contained in the book.
Former South End resident and editor Michael Nicholas adds that “religion played an important part in the lives of South End residents, hence there were numerous churches, two mosques and two Indian temples. This not only showed the diversity of the inhabitants of South End, but also formed the basis for the understanding of the different religions and cultures”.
It is widely accepted that Port Elizabeth became known as the “Friendly City” mainly because of the warm, unforgettable, incomparable atmosphere of old South End, say those who remember the vibrant neighbourhood.