The Beauty Hidden in the Shadows

Port Elizabeth Public Library

When one thinks of Gqeberha, they think of the coast, the harbour, the Boardwalk Mall, and many other tourist attractions. Aside from when the city is packed to capacity in December, hundreds of thousands of feet traverse the busy streets and sidewalks, on an ordinary day, unbeknownst to the historical entities they walk alongside.

The hub of these entities? The Central Business District, affectionately known simply as “Central”. Home to the Campanile, Route 67 and many local businesses, Central was once perfectly crafted in the eyes, and by the hands of many international tourists and local patriots.

When you take a stroll through the busy streets, you rarely note how long certain buildings have been standing there – older than us, our parents, our grandparents, and probably even our great-grandparents combined! Aside from the beautiful, ancient architecture and prominent, beautiful statues, we barely note or know very little of them, but luckily for us, there are local historians and citizens dedicated to sharing with us! One of these patriots, is Tony Neveling.

Dedicated to sharing the history of the Bay, Mr Neveling dedicates his time and personal resources monthly, on short guided tours, to local and international citizens and tourists, and takes them on a lovely, well-secured stroll throughout the busy district of the city, sharing unknown facts and details about places you usually would not think twice about.

His most recent tour occurred on 30 March 2024, where he took a group of tourists from the beautiful Donkin Memorial, through Route 67, noting all the beautiful statues and monuments along the way, to The Cathedral of St Mary The Virgin, through which he granted the tour access and interesting facts and information through the church building itself, while exposing small and hidden treasures. After that, he guided the tour past the Port Elizabeth Public/Main Library (Savage Memorial Library) (also home to the Queen Victoria Statue), unfortunately closed at the time, and finished the tour at the St Augustine’s Cathedral, and as a bonus, strolling by, entered the Prince Alfred Guard – home to various art and culture occasions, but now a lovely memorial and home to the current Army.

These tours never follow the same path or monuments, so going more than once is definitely within your best interest. Join Tony monthly by keeping an eye on the “Central SRA” page on Facebook, and make sure to take a bottle of water and a sunhat with you!

Visit Leigh Nakeetah Jason Portfolio page for more of her articles

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