Information on East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on East London situated in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa including information on Facilities and Recreation, Climate, Founding, History Suburbs, Town Planning and Geography.
East London is a city on the southeast coast of South Africa, in the Buffalo City Local Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province. The city lies mainly between the Nahoon and Buffalo rivers. East London is South Africa’s only river port.
East London History
A British fort, Fort Glamorgan, was built at the site of the city in 1847 and annexed to the Cape Colony that same year. Three villages grew around the fort, and were eventually combined to form the town of East London, which was elevated to city status in 1914.
During the early to mid-1800 Frontier wars, East London served as a supply port to service the military headquarters at nearby King William’s Town. With later development of the port came the settlement of permanent residents, including German settlers, most of whom were bachelors. In 1857, the British Government took pity on them, and a cargo of 157 Irish girls arrived to help lift morale.
The existing port, in the mouth of the Buffalo River, adjoining the Indian Ocean, has been operating since 1870. The advent of the railway on the east bank in 1876 added momentum to the ongoing development of the area into today’s thriving city of East London.
The unusual double Decker Bridge over the Buffalo River was completed in 1935 and to this day, is the only bridge of its kind in South Africa. Modern day attractions include the East London Museum housing the coelacanth, a prehistoric fish, thought to be extinct, discovered live there by fishermen in 1938, and several memorial statues. The city is well-known as a surfing mecca, and its beaches are among the best in the country.
In 1959, the Prince George Circuit race circuit opened; it hosted three Formula One South African Grand Prix races in the 1960s. In 2000, East London became part of the municipality of Buffalo City, also consisting of King William's Town and Bhisho.
In 1961, areas on either side of East London were declared Bantu homelands. Ciskei to the west and Transkei to the East. East London finding herself almost surrounded, except to the north, became very unsettled during the Apartheid era. With the volatility of the 1970s and 1980s, the government decided to dissolve the harbour for fear of the vital river port falling into the hands of the Xhosa People. Cranes were removed and sold to Argentina for a ridiculous price at that stage. This move nearly crippled the city's harbour which has never truly been able to recover. Fortunately with enormous investment in recent years by a few corporations like Daimler Chrysler, the harbour has had some development like the new car terminal.
East London Economy
East London is the second largest industrial centre in the province. The motor industry is the dominant employer. A major Daimler plant is located near the harbour, manufacturing Mercedes-Benz vehicles for the local market, as well as exporting to the United States. Other industries include clothing, textiles, pharmaceuticals and food processing.
From the 1960s until 1994, the apartheid government created tax and wage incentives to attract industries in the former black "independent states", including nearby Ciskei. Investment thus flowed into surrounding areas such as Fort Jackson and Dimbaza, leaving East London in relative isolation. The militant union activity of the time was not conducive to productivity or good labour relations. Infrastructure deteriorated, and port activity wound down.
To encourage investment in East London, the East London Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) has been established on the West Bank, close to both the port and airport. 1500ha of land has been made available, and the site is one of four duty-free development areas in South Africa.
East London has excellent transport links with the rest of South Africa. The N2 highway connecting Cape Town and Durban bypasses the city, while the N6 highway joins East London with the inland city of Bloemfontein. The East London Airport, 10 km from the city centre, has daily flights to all major South African cities.
Towns and Suburbs of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa
Addo , Aliwal North , Bathurst , Beachview , Beacon Bay , Bluewater Bay , Cape St Francis , Cintsa , Coffee Bay , Cradock , East London , Gonubie , Graaff Reinet , Grahamstown , Haga Haga , Hogsback , Humewood , Humerail , Jansenville , Jeffreys Bay , Kei Mouth , Kenton-on-Sea , King Williams Town , Kirkwood , Nahoon , Mthatha , Paterson , Port Elizabeth , Port Alfred , Port St Johns , Qolora Mouth , Quigney , Rhodes , Richmond Hill , St Francis Bay , Storms River , Stutterheim , Summerstrand , Sunland , Swartkops , Tsitsikamma , Uitenhage , Walmer