Named after one of the world's renowned statesman and South African icon, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth is one of the most sought-after destinations in South Africa. It will host the third and fourth place play-off.
Known as ‘the Friendly City', Nelson Mandela Bay/ Port Elizabeth is surrounded by immaculate beaches and is one of South Africa's port cities. It is located in the Eastern Cape Province, which has been home to some of the country's most iconic figures including Mandela, former president Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and other heroes of the struggle against apartheid.
The city's buildings are a physical timeline of the architectural change dating as far back as the 19th century. The Opera House is a good example of Victorian architecture and is still in use and the city also has the richest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in South Africa. Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth is an exceptionally busy port city and is regarded as the motor industry capital of South Africa.
The city is a good place from which to discover the enchantments of the Eastern Cape. Five Biomes converge in the province, making it a must for eco-tourism and an opportunity to enjoy South Africa's diverse geography and the city is a mere 30 minute drive from five-star game lodges.
The sunshine coast, with its rugged unspoiled beaches and Hogsback, which is rumored to be the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings books, are all within a few hours drive from the city.
The area was initially home to the hunter-gatherers, the Khoi and the San. The Xhosa then settled in the area, predominantly along the nearby Sundays River. The first British settlers arrived in Port Elizabeth in 1820. The port city would quickly become the gateway for British settlers into the frontier of South Africa, but not without resistance from the Xhosa. Before the gold rush in 1896, PE was a hub for wool, mohair and the ostrich feather trade.
On 6 June 1820, Sir Rufane named the city Port Elizabeth in honour of his wife Elizabeth, who had died in India. He was the acting governor of the Cape Colony at the time. Uitenhage was established by J.A. de Mist, a Dutch government official in 1804 and has many old buildings such as the Drostdy (1815) and the Town Hall (1882).
Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth was a core centre of resistance to the oppressive apartheid regime. In 2000, Port Elizabeth became part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. It was named in honour of Nelson Mandela and includes the cities of Dispatch and Uitenhage in its jurisdictional area.
Football, rugby and cricket are the most popular sports in this part of the world and it is therefore not surprising that some of the country's top cricketers, rugby and footballers have emerged from the Eastern Cape Province.
The now-relegated Bay United were the city's only top flight outfit. And with the team failing to preserve their spot in top flight football, it means the city once again finds itself without a professional club. Before Bay United, the city's last professional team was Michau Warriors, which was relegated in 1997. PE Blackpool played in the top flight in 1991 after the unification of the segregated football leagues. Among other players who from the area are former Bafana Bafana defender Frank Schoeman, Patrick Mayo and Blackburn Rovers forward Elrio van Heerden.
The city was a host for the group and quarter-final stages of the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Most football games have been hosted at the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union stadium. South Africa beat Trinidad and Tobago in the 2003 edition of the Nelson Mandela. The city also hosted Senegal for the 2005 Nelson Mandela Challenge. South Africa lost 2-3 to Senegal.