Nelson Mandela Bay is known by many names. So many in fact that it’s hard to keep up with all of them: The Friendly City, The Windy City, Algoa Bay, The Bay. Until 2001 it was known as Port Elizabeth, although you’ll find that many still refer to it as P.E.
While it was ‘discovered’ by the Portuguese navigator Bartolemu Diaz in 1488, it was the English who built Fort Frederick in 1799 during the Napoleonic wars, to secure it from another colonial power – the French. It is now the largest city in the Eastern Cape province, an important port and home to more than 1.3 million people.
In recent years Nelson Mandela Bay proper has suffered from decentralisation, which has resulted in urban decay. The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is funding numerous urban renewal projects, which have seen the installation of open-air artworks, the renovation of old buildings, and the commemoration of historical landmarks, with hopes that it will re-ignite economic development and draw more tourists. However, for me, there’s something fascinating in dilapidated buildings.