Uitenhage Boer War concentration camp site

 Last week I did a post about the Uitenhage Concentration Camp Memorial and this week I just want to share another of the pictures I took.  This one just a bit closer.  The back wall is divided up into nine sections, each representing one of the 9 people who died in the concentration camp.

Zola Nqini Statue in Uitenhage

A few weeks ago we took part in the NG Kerk Uitenhage Oos’ Amazing Race around Uitenhage.  One of the clues sent us to a picture of a statue which I didn’t recognise.  After asking a few people we ended up at the Market Square in front of the Uitenhage Townhall at the statue which turned out to be that of anti-apartheid activist Zola Nqini.
Nqini was the former supreme commander of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the then armed wing of the ANC.  He was detained a few times and also spent some time on Robben Island.  Although Nqini was from Uitenhage, he was banished to the outskirts of Queenstown when he was released from prison.  He was later killed by SA Defence Force special forces operatives during an attack on ANC houses in Maseru, Lesotho along with 29 South Africans and 12 Lesotho nationals. The statue was unveiled in December 2015, on the 33rd anniversary of his death.

Uitenhage Concentration Camp site

A few weeks ago we took part in an Amazing Race in and around Uitenhage, organised by one of the local churches as a fundraiser.  The race started at the old festival grounds on the outskirts of town.  While waiting for everybody to arrive I took a walk over to the Concentration Camp Memorial with my camera.
Not a lot of people know that Uitenhage had a concentration camp right on their doorstep during the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1902.  The concentration camp used to be situated on 10 hectares of land on the outskirts of town where the festival grounds can be found.  During the war a large number of women and children were dying in a Bloemfontein camp because of extreme temperatures.  It was decided to establish a new camp which had to be somewhere near water and a train line.  Uitenhage was ideal for that and a camp was built for 2000 people, although only 1800 stayed there.  At first the residents looked down on the people in the camp but then realised that they were their own people.  The locals started to go to the camp to talk to those held there and even played records for the women and children.  All the houses were built of zinc and wood as opposed to the tents of the other camps. Today, only the house that is believed to have been the commander’s stand on the site. The rest of the houses were broken down and rebuilt in Port Elizabeth’s Red Location.  In front of the house visitors will find a memorial statue as well as a monument made out of high cement walls and pillars in memory of the eight adults and children who died in the camp.

NMB Science Centre

Looking for something to do with the kids this holiday?  Why not head out to Uitenhage?  The town has a few worth while spots to visit to keep the kids busy at.  Start at the Cuyler Manor Museum, visit the world class VW Auto Pavilion and round the day off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre.  Although the centre really has the potential to be so much more than what it currently is, it’s sure to keep kids big and small busy for a while as they try out all the marvels of science explained for kids to understand.  Plus it’s all hands on. More info is available on the listing on the NMBT website.

Moth Memorial – walled off

In January I did a post about the Grave of Joseph Crowe at the Moth Memorial Hall in Uitenhage.  Last week I was in town for a meeting at the NMB Science Centre nearby and drove past the Moth Memorial Hall just to find a vebracrete wall has been erected behind the little boundary wall that looks like sand bags.  How thoroughly disappointing that the public can’t see this anymore.

Uitenhage’s Willow Dam

Uitenhage’s Willow Dam and its surrounding park has always been a very popular recreational spot in the Garden Town.  For a while it seemed to have gone downhill a bit and people stayed away because of a bad reputation that was developing, but that is changing again.  People are returning to Willow Park to picnic and play, there’s a weekly market and the park is once again nicely maintained.

Last Beetle off the Uitenhage line

The last South African-made Volkswagen Beetle came off the production line on 18 January 1979 and went straight into the Volkswagen museum which later became the VW AutoPavilion.  The metallic bronze Beetle was the last of 288 353 built at Uitenhage plant 1951.  The car only had 200km on the clock when a vehicle carrier overturned on the way back from a show in Cape Town in 2006, destroying nine of the AutoPavilion’s most important historic cars, including this one.  It was decided though to painstakingly recreate the car (recreate and not restore as the body was totally written off) using as many parts of the original as possible.  The car is one of the exhibits in the VW AutoPavilion’s collection which can be viewed when visiting this awesome museum in Uitenhage.