The Fishing and Angling exhibit at the South End Museum provides an introduction to the fishing industry in South End and an insight into how big a role it played in the everyday lives of South Enders. Of course, fish has been an important food source for mankind for thousands of years. History tells us that the Khoi people that first inhabited the South African coastline were adept at harvesting its nourishing riches. These skills were passed down from oneSouth End Museum Fishing and Angling Exhibition generation to the next, eventually passing on to the coloured population that inhabited South End and North End. Thus, it may be said that fishing was a tradition and skill deeply rooted in the heritage of the country.

In the 1800’s, these people were joined by a number of Malays, who moved across to the southern side of the Baakens River and became established in the South End area. Fishing quickly became a well-established part in the lives of South Enders. There was at least one fisherman in virtually every family. Fishing would provide a way to either make a living or to supplement other incomes. Surplus fish caught by family members was taken and sold to generate extra money for the family. What was left behind would be used to feed the family and leftovers would be given to neighbours and friends on the understanding that the favour would be returned at some point. Thus, the members of the community sustained each other and this created strong friendships that lasted for generations. During your visit to the museum, your tour guide may even regale you with first-hand stories of fishing in South End during this time period.

Before long, fishing also became a favourite pastime and many fishing and angling clubs were formed. The Dom Pedro Angling Club, established in 1931, was the first such club to come into operation. The majority of this club’s fishing was initially done from the Dom Pedro Jetty, after which they also started to fish from the breakwater. The club members regularly held competitions among themselves. This was until a number of other clubs, such as Birch Rock and Surf, Marine Rock and Surf, Windsor, Bayonians and Marlin, were formed, making it possible for the various clubs to compete against one another. In time, the sport grew and the Eastern Province Angling Association was formed in 1951, paving the way for the first Angling Week to take place later that same year. Some of the founding members of the EP Angling Association included Braima Kafaar, Ismail Nordien and Omar Cassem. The establishment of the EP Angling Association made it possible for fishermen from all over Port Elizabeth to start to compete on a national level, travelling all the way to Durban to participate in different angling events. Angling was a popular sport in South End right until the forced removal of these people brought about the downfall of their clubs.

When you visit the Fishing and Angling section of the South End Museum, you will not only learn more about the fishing legacy of South End, but also see some fascinating artefacts and photos detailing this aspect of the neighbourhood’s history. The exhibit includes brass darts used in the whaling industry, which started up in Algoa Bay in 1812. It also includes numerous charts of the various kinds of fish commonly found off the coast of South Africa, including those that were sought after as food and game fish in the area.