Current exhibits unveil unique stories about the museum's collection. Explore the namesakes of South End.’s streets, avenues, neighbourhoods, and other public spaces. Featuring reproductions of portraits, drawn mostly from the museum’s collection, the exhibition presents the faces and biographies behind some of the city’s most familiar locations, introducing visitors to those whose names are part of the South End’s personalities, politics and events. 

Current exhibitions

When you visit the South End Museum in the heart of Port Elizabeth, look out for the floor map showing the old suburb as it was before the forced removals of 1965 and scout around the exhibition rooms for displays on the social, sporting, fishing and music cultures of times gone by. 

If you should speak to an old-timer from Port Elizabeth, ask him or her about life in the famous South End district before 1965. 

By all accounts, South End, which houses the South End Museum, was a microcosm of the perfect South Africa: a lively community of Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, Malay, Greek, Portuguese and Chinese people, to name a few. 

They lived together, cheek by jowl, worshipped in a dozen different churches, temples and mosques, ran their businesses together and schooled their children together. This took place at the height of the infamous apartheid era, when a raft of laws officially separated all races from mixing in most ways. 

The South End suburban buildings had that grande dame feel about them. They were stylish, ageing and high-ceilinged. Someone best described them as reminding one of rural South America with their charming, almost rundown look. 

South End was the spawning ground for good sportsmen and many musicians. The Lindstrom Hall, The Eldorado and Manny’s hop were hotpots of hot jazz music, featuring bands like the Premier band,  the Modernaires, the Cubans and the Rio – not to mention the Soul Jazz Men, the Debonairs and the Cavaliers. 

Those who once lived in the old South End remember that there was an atmosphere of togetherness in their community, a spirit of cooperation that transcended any exterior differences. 

The Group Areas Act – arguably the most harmful of all apartheid legislation – came into force in 1950. By 1965, the apartheid bulldozers had moved into South End and demolished most of the suburb. The residents were dispatched to new residential areas and townships, according to their race and colour. South End was one of the tragic stories of forced removals in South Africa.

These days, the South End Museum on Humewood Road is where you go to recapture those times. One of the displays is a massive floor map of the old South End. Other rooms contain photographic memories of the community and its sporting achievements, as well as tributes to the heroes who lived here. 

From the South End Museum, you can also embark on a walking tour. A guide, who is also a former South Ender, will take you around to see 15 major landmarks of South End and will tell you the stories of the people who once thrived there. 

South End was once a cosmopolitan suburb bustling with street life, known for its respected schools, is festive hotels, numerous family businesses and its own air fish sellers. It was home to generations of families who lived in houses which today are only recorded in water colours. 

History Museum · Community Center · Educational Research Center

This microcosm of Port Elizabeth life was destroyed during the 1970's under the infamous Group Areas Act, one of the main legislative pillars of the then Apartheid government.
The South End Museum offers glimpses of this lost past. From its walk-on street map, to historical photographs and displays of the life and times of the people of South End, the Museum provides a living memorial to the victims forcibly removed from South End.


  • Malay Community
  • Chinese Community
  • Indian Community
  • Dawid Stuurman & Khoi Community
  • South End memories – Forced removals and other
  • Sport & Culture in South End
  • Football World Cup
  • Shamrocks FC 100th Anniversary
  • Molly Blackburn
  • Human Rights for people living with mental illness
  • Angling history
  • Northern Areas


  • Port Culture (not yet launched)
  • Restitution (not yet launched)
  • Main Hall – South End & forced removals
  • Hall of Memories – South End & forced removals
  • South End Room – Heroes & the struggle