Last Volksie Bug lives to drive another day

by Duncan Reyneke

The completely rebuilt Beetle

Image by: File Foto
The last Volkswagen Beetle to roll off the Uitenhage production line in 1979 has been restored to its former glory after being virtually destroyed in a crash in 2006.

The popular Beetle became the benchmark for affordable, mass-produced cars after the Second World War and was one of the most recognisable cars on roads around the world.

Uitenhage’s Volkswagen Auto Pavilion manager Johan Wagner said the 1979 Beetle had been destroyed in a carrier crash after a 2006 show in Cape Town.

The car, along with eight other historic cars from the Auto Pavilion collection, was crushed when the carrier they were being transported on overturned.

“Being such a special vehicle, the last Beetle was restored over a period of two years and returned to its former glory,” Wagner said. “All the mechanical [parts] and most of the interior from the original car could be used and were transferred to another body of the same era.”

The car has a range of features not available on standard models, such as Bilboa cloth upholstery, black fender spats, taper-tip exhaust pipes, a centre tunnel console and Rostyle wheel rims.

“[The car] was built with most of the luxury features of the higher specification and limited edition 1600s like the Fun Bug, Lux Bug, Jeans Bug and Snug Bug,” Wagner said.

The historic Beetle features a plaque that reads “The legend lives on”.

Source : Times LIVE

Strong ties bind Eastern Cape to journey to freedom

Enoch Sontonga – born in UitenhageIT IS no small feat that Enoch Sontonga – born in Uitenhage in 1872 – composed South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

And that the designer of South Africa’s iconic flag – said to be the world’s third-best known – attributes his success in heraldry to the nurturing of the Eastern Cape when he was a student at Rhodes University.

Sontonga’s descendants still live in Uitenhage and Frederick Brownell, now in his 70s, lives in Pretoria. Brownell also designed the Eastern Cape coat of arms.

“The powerful impact the Eastern Cape has on people is evident in the immense contributions of Enoch Sontonga and Frederick Brownell,” said Nomfundo wakwa Luphondwana, general manager of provincial communication in the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier.

“Today we celebrate 16 years of freedom and democracy. It marks a milestone in the history of our nation – and a time to reflect and celebrate the journey that we travelled to achieve our freedom and democracy.

“These two national heroes must be commended for the massive role they have played in shaping the symbolic backdrop of South African freedom.”

Sontonga’s beautiful hymn brought comfort and joy to millions of people during the struggle years.

Continue reading “Strong ties bind Eastern Cape to journey to freedom”

Uitenhage celebrates Women’s Day Inspiration

This is the story of the first conference where I was the MC, the event organiser, the host and everything else.

“Yes!!! I did it.” I, Yusuf Moses, pulled it off…

I overcame my fear of speaking on a stage. When I got on that stage I felt that I had the power to change the world just with the words that I conveyed and that was frightening. That’s the one thing that made me tremble with fear and made me stutter; however, I knew if I didn’t get onto that stage at that moment I would disappoint all the people and most of all I would disappoint my mother, Halimah Moses, and Mrs Elizabeth Muller. Moreover, I would surely not want to disappoint  Ramon Thomas and make him lose  trust and confidence that he had in me. I believed I had a message, and it was an important one: I wanted to inspire Uitenhage, I wanted to educate them.

That is why I had to get onto that stage. The morning of Saturday, 9th August 2008, I was nervous and in a moment of near panic I felt like running away but deep down inside of me I knew that it would haunt me for the rest of my life. Running would become much easier next time … I would never achieve my dream of standing in front on people and changing their lives.

I am happy that I went through with it because I learned some valuable lessons:

Lesson 1

It is possible for an individual to change the world like Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale. I read and heard such stories about these great people in history, changing the world, but that was “history” to me. It seemed unreal; even Nelson Mandela too far fetched because I had never before experienced that power of speaking to the world. I did not realize that when I stepped onto that stage but…. when I got down after my last words I realized that one person can change the world.

Lesson 2

People want to help you succeed. There were people that I met not long before my big women’s inspirational day who went out of their way to help me succeed. Every time that I had to ask someone something, I reflected on whether I would be willing to do that for someone else? Then I would answer, “Yes, but that is not me.” That’s when I started to doubt them. Yet that’s when I learned to put my trust in what people say and to believe that they would follow through. (I learned to trust people again.)

Lesson 3

I learned to appreciate everyone I knew. For the first time I really appreciated the people that came and I could help them to help themselves even more. But the greatest reward was seeing the faces in the crowd wanting to hear more of what I had to say. It was people like Mr Antony Larter, telling Ramon, “It will help Yusuf if we clapped a bit.” It was Mrs Muller nodding her head when I said, “Never let anyone take away your dignity”.  Women are dream builders.

It was Mrs Olwen Carson running around at the very last minute for me, Yusuf Moses, whom she had met just a few days ago; she had known nothing about me, yet there she was helping me find a “tea pot” for the event. I can still feel the lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes but I kept them back because I felt that I would still need to approach a thousand more people and I had to be strong when I met them.

There was Mrs Gretal Olivier who came all the way from Alexandria telling me that it was not my fault that this public speaking was a fear to me; at her school it was part of the curriculum and if it had been a part of my curriculum a few years back it would not have been a fear. It was people like Mrs Karen telling me, ”You did a great job organizing this much needed yet so neglected event”. I could see the pride in my mother’s eyes. Only a few days earlier I had told her that I was resigning and I could see her dream of me working at a factory for 10,20 or even 40 years being shattered.

Now she proudly told me, “Yusuf, my son, you are now an adult and I can no longer choose for you. But remember I will stand behind you in whatever you choose to do with your life, because you have never let me down before”. I will never ever forget these timeless words that she said. It was for Mrs Lizy of the friends of the Uitenhage Library just smiling with appreciation. It was for Gareth whom I work with for telling me, “Hey, bro, just relax”

Uitenhage’s Concentration Camp history

Uitenhage Concentration Camp: GHOSTS OF WAR: A monument in memory of eight adults and children who died in Uitenhage’s concentration campBEING one of the oldest towns in the country, Uitenhage is steeped in a rich history. But few know it was home to a concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1902. Chairman of the Concentration Camp Trust Superintendent Kallie Calitz is working hard to ensure the area is protected and remembered.

“You won’t believe that the majority of Uitenhage’s current residents don’t know about the concentration camp – and it’s in their backyard,” Calitz said.

Situated on the outskirts of the upmarket suburb of Vanes Estate, you will find one lone house with a memorial statue in front of it, which was declared a national monument in 1972. There is another monument made out of high cement walls in memory of the eight children and adults who died in the camp. Calitz said the concentration camp was established because a large number of women and children were dying in a Bloemfontein camp because of extreme temperatures. The new one had to be somewhere near water and a train line.

“Uitenhage was the ideal place because it had an established rail system and there were natural springs,” Calitz said.

The camp was built for 2000 people, but only 1800 stayed there. Although today the site is only four hectares in size, Calitz said they estimate it was about 10 hectares originally. When the concentration camp was built, the town was already 100 years old.

“At first the residents looked down on the people from the camp, but then they realised that these are our people and they started to accept them,” Calitz said.

“For entertainment people went to the camp and played records for the women and children. When the people were given permits to come to town to buy goods, the residents would pick guavas from one of the trees and give them to the children,” Calitz said.

All the houses were made 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, stands on the site. The rest of the houses were broken down and rebuilt in Port Elizabeth’s Red Location. Peace came in May 1902, but the people stayed in the camp until October. “W here were they supposed to go back to? Their farms (in the Free State) were taken away, their houses had been burned and their husbands shot,” Calitz said.

“Some people moved to town, got married and their descendants are probably still here today.” – By NICOLETTE SCROOBY, source: Daily Dispatch