Thursday, December 28, 2017

Lovemore Heights Christmas House

Christmas may be over but we finally got a chance to go and have a look at the Lovemore Heights Christmas House at the top of Melsetter Road. I was actually starting to be embarrassed to say that we haven't been there yet especially after promoting it on social media and via my radio show on LuisterFM so much. The lights on and around the house truly is magnificent and if you haven't been to see it then you only have a day or two left before they turn it off for another year. Hats off to the Grootendorst family for what they put into this Christmas wonder and the joy that it brings to so many people.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Day 1 of the 4 day pink ball test

The very first cricket test as well as rugby test in South Africa were played at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth. If I'm right, the first cricket test in South Africa after readmission was also played in Port Elizabeth. Today PE is making history again. Not just did the first pink ball day night test in South Africa start in PE today, it's also the first official 4 day test in the world. And I'm here enjoying the Proteas' batting display along with Miggie, my cricket playing daughter.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Campanile Ghost Bells

One of the new features in the Campanile is the Ghost Bells which can be seen as one climbs up to the top of the tower.  The Ghost Bells are installed under the actual 25-bell carillon (the original 23 plus the two new bells) and light up during chiming or when visitors press keys on an interactive silver console keyboard.  The Ghost Bells aren't just in the same position, they're also the same size as the real bells.  Looking at the photo the two new bells are marked with red.

The Ghost Bells interactive keyboard

On the wall is a plaque with details of all the bells in the carillon containing info on the donor who sponsored each bell, the bell's number as well as the inscription on them.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Theater icon street names

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality recently (yeh ok, some months ago already) renamed three of the streets around the PE Opera House to celebrate three of Port Elizabeth's theatre legends.  John Kani, Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona are truly three world icons and worked together on Sizwe Banzi is Dead in 1972 and The Island in 1973. Ntshona and Kani went on to win Tony awards for best actor for both plays while the names of all three have become synonymous with a phenomenal theatre legacy in South Africa.

Belmont Terrace was renamed as Athol Fugard Terrace, Whites Road to John Kani Road and Chapel Street was changed to Winston Ntshona Street.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Prester John cross figures

Following on the post about the Cross of Prester John and the Portuguese Explorers between City Hall and the old Post Office building, I decided to post a more closeup picture of the two figures sitting inside the cross.  The figures represent Prester John on the one side and a Portuguese explorer on the other side.  There is a whole lot more symbolism on the cross, but I'm going to have to do a little more research before posting about that.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The cross of Prester John and the Portuguese Explorers

Wedged in between City Hall and the Old Post Office building with the Feather Market Centre on the other side of the right is the Cross of Prester John.  The monument has no significant link to Port Elizabeth other than the fact that it was a stop en route to the East for Portuguese explorers who, in addition to looking for a way around Africa to the East, were also hoping to make contact with Prester John as a Christian ally.  A local philanthropist paid for the monument which was unveiled by the Portuguese Ambassador to South Africa in 1986. 

The story of Prester John is a mysterious one.  In some circles he was believed to be a descendant of the Three Wise Men, some believed he was a crusader-era Christian king based in Ethiopia or possibly a high-born Mongol from the time of Genghis Khan.  Then there were those who said that he watched over the Holy Grail, never growing old but wiser and wiser as the years went by.  Whoever this mythical king-priest Prester John was, it was the quest of the Portuguese explorers not just to find a sea route around Africa to the East, but to also find and make contact with Prester John as a Christian ally. 

Prester John (Latin: Presbyter Johannes) is a legendary Christian patriarch and king popular in European chronicles and tradition from the 12th through the 17th centuries. He was said to rule over a Nestorian (Church of the East) Christian nation lost amid the Muslims and pagans of the Orient, in which the Patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided. The accounts are varied collections of medieval popular fantasy, depicting Prester John as a descendant of the Three Magi, ruling a kingdom full of riches, marvels, and strange creatures.

At first, Prester John was imagined to reside in India; tales of the Nestorian Christians' evangelistic success there and of Thomas the Apostle's subcontinental travels as documented in works like the Acts of Thomas probably provided the first seeds of the legend. After the coming of the Mongols to the Western world, accounts placed the king in Central Asia, and eventually Portuguese explorers convinced themselves that they had found him in Ethiopia.

You can read more about Prester John on Wikipedia where I got the above information.