About us

South End, as a suburb, was once a cosmopolitan community. Men, women, children and families lived harmonious lives in the epicentre of cultural diversity. Coloureds, whites, Indians, Chinese, Blacks, Jews, Greeks and many more were united in their attitude towards family values, faith and morals, despite the diversity of religion, language and race.

The South End Museum aims to preserve the history of the South End area in Port Elizabeth. Some of the projects include a Searching for Memories project for the previous residents of South End who were affected by the forced removals during the apartheid era, as well as educational programmes for schools.

As a Non-Profit Organisation, the South End Museum relies on funding to sustain itself and provide these services to the community. Organisations such as the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) have consistently assisted the South End Museum with programme and operational funding.

The Seamen’s Institute building was secured to house the proposed museum. The very first refurbishments to the building were commenced in late 2000, and the museum was officially opened on the 21st March 2001. The building was renovated in phases over the next ten years.

The age of the building immediately ensures that it is a heritage site, having its foundation stone being laid by Lord Alfred Milner, Governor and High Commissioner of the Cape and Natal colonies, on 11th September, 1897.

The primary aim of the Museum is to keep the memory of erstwhile South End alive and to depict the brutality, tragedy and sorrow that resulted from forced removals as a consequence of the Group Areas Act and other Apartheid legislation. Many old people died of broken hearts, others were traumatised and may be scarred for life after being forcibly relocated from their ancestral homes in South End to strange new places.

The Trustees of the South End Museum have therefore set out to preserve the cultural history, heritage and traditions of all the communities that were affected by the Group Areas Act. To achieve this, exhibitions, based on research, have been set up, and which have been accompanied by an Oral History programme, that has gleaned more information from representatives of the various communities, and which has then allowed the museum to obtain a wealth of information to be stored up in its archives.