10 Facts: East London

East London is part of the Buffalo City municipality and is situated on the South East Coast of South Africa in the Eastern Cape province. I’ve only visited this city once, when I was about 5 years old. At the time my parents had friends that were living in Gonubie. East London has been selected as the topic for today’s 10 facts post. Watch this space for more posts in this category. Feel free to comment on this post if I’ve left anything important out about East London.

Here are some facts about East London:

  • East London (originally called Port Rex) was founded in 1847 when a British fort was built in the region to serve as supply port for nearby King William’s Town.
  • The existing port in East London, in the mouth of the Buffalo River (the only river port in South Africa), adjoining the Indian Ocean has been operating since 1870.
  • East London was handed city status in 1914.
  • Today East London has a population of about 480,000 people.
  • In 1959 the Prince George Circuit race circuit opened in East London. It hosted 3 Formula One South African Grand Prix races in the 1960s.
  • The Daily Dispatch (an East London newspaper) broke the story of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko’s murder in 1977. The story of paper’s editor, Donald Woods is depicted in the film Cry Freedom. Today a statue of Steve Biko stands in front of East London City hall.
  • In 2000, East London became part of the municipality of Buffalo City, also consisting of King William’s Town and Bhisho.
  • The cricket ground in East London, Buffalo park can hold up to 28,000 people. It is also known as Mercedes-Benz Park, thanks to sponsorship from the German motor manufacturer. It is traditionally nicknamed “The Buffs”, however with the new sponsor it is humorously called “The Carpark”.
  • Mark Boucher (international cricketer),  Joan Harrison (Swimmer and 1952 Olympic champion), Mark Andrews (Springbok rugby player), Andre Vos (Rugby player), Rory Kockott (Rugby player), Jody Sheckter (1979 Formula 1 champion), Donald Woods (Anti-Apartheid Activist), Wendy Botha (4 time World Surfing Champion), Deon Opperman (Playwright), Vuyani Bungu (Boxer), Welcome Ncita (Boxer) and Derek Bauer (Cartoonist) were all born in East London.
  • East London is the 6th largest city in South Africa.

Watch this space for more 10 facts updates. Hope these topics are insightful and not boring at all.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
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