Port Elizabeth


Port Elizabeth is located on the eastern cape of South Africa. It is known for its beautiful beaches, but also has a rich political history during the reign of apartheid. Several boycotts, riots and arrests took place there.


In the 1950’s world of “MASTER HAROLD”...and the boys, Port Elizabeth was one of the last major urban areas of South Africa to remain relatively open to black South Africans.


Conditions worsened in rural areas due to drought and increased land shortages as the years wore on. As a result, Port Elizabeth became overcrowded with poor black South Africans, many of whom lived deplorably. Finding housing was difficult which most likely explains why Sam and Willie had to live in the boarding house owned by Hally’s parents. By the end of the 1940s, the area was home to South Africa's poorest black population, and had become a hotbed for diseases like tuberculosis. The City Council attempted to deal with the issue of overcrowding by demolishing the shanty residences of black South Africans. In 1949, black South Africans choosing to move to Port Elizabeth were forced to register their presence with the municipality. By 1950, these regulations had been implemented for much of Port Elizabeth's "local" (those who were from the neighboring Cape Town province) population as well.