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Port Elizabeth tours | Tour2.0 | New Brighton

New Brighton, Port Elizabeth

Telling the Untold Stories of New Brighton

with Xolani Makhalima
Hop-on, Hop-off
  • Rating

  • 4 hours

  • Monday to Sunday

  • 6+

  • 2 to 8 people

  • Incl. Food

  • Reviews

4 hour Hop-on, Hop-off tour

Tour highlights:

1. Red Location.
2. Tea and snacks with Nolwethu.
3. Dinner with Mama Gwen.

Includes:

Food and refreshments.

Excludes:

Transport to and from the tour.

Show Detailed Itinerary

The Untold Stories Tour with Xolani, a self-proclaimed straight talker, is an ode to ordinary people and their lives. It tells the stories of those whose lives will never go down in history and those whose likeness will not be carved into stone. This is Xolani’s way of telling stories that need to be told. Xolani is township born and bred and is unapologetic about the tours. As he sees it, it’s important to know how a majority of South Africans live, and he believes that by telling these stories we can begin to make the lives of everyday people a little more visible.

Upon entering New Brighton Township, Xolani gives us a humorous crash course of the various Xhosa clicks by trying his best to teach us which parts of the tongue to use when pronouncing the letters C, Q and X – the letters that give off the click sounds. He also gives us insight into how various township households are structured. Sometimes there can be as many as three generations living in one home. The lines between extended family and immediate family are often nonexistent. In some instances the size of a family explains the number of other structures built on the same property in backyards. But other times these are rented out in order to earn a little money, as employment is difficult to come by.

New Brighton – also known as Red Location, was built in 1899 as the barracks for British soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War. When the soldiers were moved out of Red Location in 1902, black people were moved in. Red Location gets its name from the red corrugated iron that was an identifying feature of the buildings in the area; painted red with Mercury oxide by the British. The British soldiers used the Mercury oxide to prevent the corrugated iron from rusting and in the process dyed the buildings. The community will not allow for the Red Location Museum to begin operating have questioned why the government would build such an elaborate space that houses historic events, when many more homes could have been built for those that live here.

We then visit our first local host Nolwethu at her home. Nolwethu has prepared some snacks for the group and sits down with us to tell us about her life and her passage to New Brighton. Hers is a story shared by many others in the township and throughout the country. It is a story of migrancy and moving to escape the clutches of unemployment. But she found unemployment waiting for her in Port Elizabeth when she left Kokstad. With no sign of job prospects she started doing beadwork as a way of earning an income and this she says, grew into a passion. She started selling her items at the roadside and found that her items were a hit with tourists. She has moved from living in a shack to building her own home where she stays with her husband.

After we say goodbye to Nolwethu, we visit Mama Gwen's home, where we sit down for dinner with her and her husband. Mama Gwen tells us about her upbringing in Cape Town’s District Six and her family’s forced removal in 1966. The event, she says, was so traumatic that her mother suffered a stroke when she received notification of the removals. But Mama Gwen also shares the more beautiful moments of her life like how she met her husband and details their decision to relocate to Port Elizabeth. Like Nolwethu Mama Gwen is an entrepreneur. She was a pioneer of the now popular container-run food outlets in the 80’s. She’s since hung up her apron and is now an artist.

As we tip our hats to Mama Gwen and her husband, and say goodbye to New Brighton, we realise that the best way to tell other people’s stories, as Xolani has shown us today, is to have them tell their own stories. This is what makes these untold stories worth listening to and what makes his tour, an unforgettable experience.

  • From R695 ZAR
    Per Person
  • From R1545 ZAR
    Transport Incl.
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    Grand Total:
    R695 ZAR

4 hour Hop-on, Hop-off tour

Tour highlights:

1. Red Location.
2. Tea and snacks with Nolwethu.
3. Dinner with Mama Gwen.

Includes:

Food and refreshments.

Excludes:

Transport to and from the tour.

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