In 1804, JA Uitenhage de Mist, Commissioner-General of the Batavian Republic, instructed Captain Alberti to select a site for the new Drostdy (Eastern Cape District). Alberti chose a site on the banks of the Zwartkops River Valley, because of the favourable climate and abundant water supply. As a result, Uitenhage (also known as the Garden Town) was originally the headquarters of the Eastern Cape. Located only 35 km from Port Elizabeth, today Uitenhage is a thriving industrial and commercial town and forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Uitenhage is home to Volkswagen of South Africa (Pty) Ltd, one of three motor manufacturers in the Eastern Cape. The surrounding area also encompasses the pristine Groendal Wilderness Area, that provides a host of eco-outdoor activities.
Enoch Sontonga – Distinguished Son of Uitenhage (1872 – 1905)
Enoch Mankayi Sontonga was the man who wrote and composed Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. Born in ca. 1872 in Uitenhage, Sontonga was from the Mpinga clan of the Xhosa nation. He wrote the first verse and chorus of Nkosi Sikelel’ and also composed the music in 1897. It was first sung in public in 1899. In 1994 it became part of South Africa’s national anthem.
Nkosi sikelel’ I Afrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo Iwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela,thina lusapho lwayo.
Langa Memorial Virtual Tour
Maduna Road, Uitenhage. Contact Mrs Shoba tel: 041 503 7133 / Cell: 082 780 4850.
Uitenhage holds a special place in the history of resistance to apartheid, as it was here that 20 people were shot dead by police on 21 March 1985, the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960. The 1985 shooting took place just outside Langa township, and became known as the Langa Massacre. There was an international outcry following this incident and a Commission of Inquiry (Kannemeyer Commission) was immediately appointed to investigate the cause of the shooting. A year after the Langa massacre, a memorial tombstone to those who died was unveiled in the KwaNobuhle Cemetery. The tombstone was vandalised in June 1987 and re-erected in March 1994. This Heroes Monument marks the spot where the Police opened fire on a crowd of mourners on their way to a banned funeral.
Basuto War Memorial
This Memorial commemorates those who died in the Basuto Campaign from 1880-1882, and Morosi Mountain in 1879.
The Old Drostdy Museum (1809) Virtual tour
50 Caledon Street, Uitenhage. Tel: (041) 992 2063.
Entrance Fee: R5-00 p/p. Open Mon. to Fri. 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 16h30.
The Drostdy was erected during General Jacob Glen Cuyler’s tenure of office as a Landdrost of Uitenhage. The Uitenhage Africana Museum is housed here, providing an ideal setting in which to portray the history of Uitenhage and the surrounding areas. Cuyler Manor Museum Old Uitenhage / Port Elizabeth Road, tel: (041) 992 2063. E-mail: mailto:email@example.comEntrance fee: R5-00 p/p. Open Mon. to Fri. 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 16h30. Built as a homestead for General Jacob Glen Cuyler, Landdrost of Uitenhage from 1806 to 1827, this Cape Dutch style house has been restored and furnished in the style of its day. As a living museum, demonstrations of traditional activities such as soap- and candle-making, baking and weaving can be arranged.
The Old Railway Station Museum (1875)
Market Street, Uitenhage. Tel: (041) 992 2063. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Entrance Fee: R5-00 p/p. Open Mon. to Fri. 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 16h30. Built on Market Street in the year of the opening of the railway from Port Elizabeth, this is reputed to be one of the oldest railway stations in South Africa. At this quaint museum, two vintage locomotives, a variety of coaches, period furniture and equipment capture the atmosphere of the early days of steam. The building houses a residence, waiting room and tea-room in addition to the station office. Uitenhage Town Hall
Since the 1820’s, residents lobbied to have the capital of the Colony relocated to Uitenhage. When the Town Hall was built in 1882 in Market Street and the Public Building between 1896 and 1898 (now called Victoria Tower), they were such imposing buildings for a small town that local expectations rose again, but residents’ ambition was never realised. The huge wild fig tree on the left corner of the property is more than 100 years old.
Anglo-Boer War Memorial
Located in front of the Town Hall in Uitenhage, this memorial was unveiled in 1904. The names of Uitenhage citizens who died in the Anglo-Boer War are inscribed hereon. The features of the life-size soldier were reportedly copied from that of an actual soldier in King William’s Town.
George V Memorial
Cannon Hill. Virtual Tour
A monument commemorating the coronation of King George V adorns Cannon Hill and is an excellent vantage point from which to view the town and surrounding area.