Our newly appointed mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay is Danny Jordaan. He is the 5th mayor since I moved to this city in 1996. I still remember relocating to Port Elizabeth from Pretoria (Now called Tshwane) as though it was yesterday. I was fascinated by the open space and tranquil environment. Not only are the people friendly but also hospitable. I realized right from the outset if I am to make Port Elizabeth my home, the first thing I had to do was change my number plates immediately. I have seen too many people moving to a city and have one foot where they come from and the other where they find themselves at the time. I did not want to be reminded of my past but wanted to get right into the here and now. I soon came face to face with reality. I learned that this city had immense challenges. At the time there was a very negative saying going around that says “Last One to Leave, Feed the Dolphins and Put off the Lights”. This was the time that many motor industries closed their doors. There was also an incident where many people were conned out of their life-savings by certain investors. Amongst all the friendliness of the people of this city I saw the reality of negativity and despair. The Media cashed in on this and thrived on selling bad news.
Nceba Faku was the mayor at the time I moved to Port Elizabeth. I was introduced to him on a few occasions, but it was only after I was appointed as the station manager of Radio Kingfisher that I had an in-depth understanding of who this man was and what is vision was for this beautiful city which I call “The bay Of Prosperity”. Because of my radio and television background I was approached by an advertising agency to be part of a documentary on the vision of the future development of Nelson Mandela Bay called” Vision 20/20”. It was here that I gained so much respect for this man and his quest to make this city the best city in South Africa…I believe it has the potential to be one of the ten best in the world. He was very instrumental when we were fighting for a 5year broadcast licence at the time when ICASA closed down the station and gave the licence to another competitor. We fought and won the case. After almost 15 years the station is still operating and is doing exceptionally well. I have unforgettable memories of the many challenges and negatives that I faced during that time…But here we are five mayors later and we have not heard of the “Vision 20/20” project again.
This city has great leaders with vision and purpose what I lack to see is the support and confidence. When Coega was first conceptualized there were many doom prophets whom shot down the idea and walk away with scorn. I take my hat off for a visionary like Pepi Silinga who took up the post as Chief Executive Officer in 1999 and has been in this position up till today. I guess he must be proud that he stood his ground and continued to dream about this city and what it will be. So I can speak of many other well-known men and women who made a remarkable foot prints in this city. Just looking at how many people of colour we have in the Northern Area or Bethelsdorp as it was known from 1802 until the group areas act moved our people from Southend, Willowdene and Fairview. Amongst this sub-cultural group called Coloureds, are the most powerful individuals and leaders this country has seen. With the appointment of Danny Jordaan I am convince that this city are going to make history yet once again. I believe in him and his ability. I even believe ad respect his wife Roxanne more for being a true prayer worrier and his greatest support. I am aware that his appointment has produced many critics and sceptics but this is not new. I wrote a 21 point Vision that I believe and hope will be realized in my lifetime… It is Called ‘DARE TO DREAM”
P.O. Box 35076
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Copyright © 2015 Billy Paulson | Designed by BlackInk Solutions | Photography by Tim Wilson