About our District
Established in 1950
First arrival of A.A. in Port Elizabeth
In 1950, Val D, a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous in Springs, who had been sober since 3 November 1946, was invited by the Postmaster of Port Elizabeth to come to Port Elizabeth to “sober up” his postmen. Val came and the first meeting was held in the City Hall. In the November of 1950, the Port Elizabeth Group was formed and for a time held its meetings in the basement of the Old Mutual Arcade in Main Street, Port Elizabeth.
From there, two members took AA to the Northern Areas and the Gelvandale Group was formed in 1952. Not long after, the Bay Group was formed and the Port Elizabeth Group moved to premises at 14 Cuyler Street, a dwelling that belonged to a sober member of AA and which was purchased for 6,000 pounds to later become known as the Alano Club.
The first “office” of Alcoholics Anonymous was housed in this building and as more groups sprung up became the Intergroup headquarters of Alcoholics Anonymous in Port Elizabeth.
After the formation of the original Walmer Group (which met in a half-way house operated by SANCA), the Newton Park Group, the Windvogel Group, the Springdale Group and with the cooperation of the Grahamstown Group, the first local Area Assembly was formed and was known as the Eastern Cape Area Assembly.
The Assembly covered Port Elizabeth and surrounds, Grahamstown, Port Alfred, Kenton on Sea, East London, Somerset East, Cookhouse, King Williamstown, Queenstown, Humansdorp, Jeffreys Bay, and most of what was the Eastern Province as far down as George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay etc.
When the South African Service Manual was updated some time around 1989, the Eastern Province Area Assembly had decided to move their office from the Port Elizabeth Group’s premises in Cuyler Street and an office was leased in Parliament Street, Central, Port Elizabeth as it was felt that all groups had to be represented by the Area Office. The office was operated by volunteers and handled all telephone enquiries, the Hospitals and Institutions Committee, Literature Sales, Public Information and Cooperation with the Professional Community Committees.
Around 1995, AA South Africa adopted the International AA Structure and the Eastern Cape Area Assembly was split into three Districts, The Garden Route District, The Port Elizabeth District and the East London District.
The District functioned well and in due course opened an office at the St Martin De Porres Church in Kobus Road, Gelvandale and which to this day is still the District Office.
By this time, the Port Elizabeth District was providing services to the following groups:
Port Elizabeth, Newton Park, Mount Croix, Walmer, Ladies Group, Gelvandale, Springdale, Bloemendal, Comfort, Zwide, Schauderville, Grahamstown, Kenton, Port Alfred, Uitenhage, Somerset East, All Saints, Bedford, Graaff Reinet, as well as offering Telephone Answering Services and serving as the repository for new AA literature for the District.
More recent developments have seen a move to use the Port Elizabeth District Office to provide intergroup office services to the Garden Route District and to re-establish the Eastern Province Area Assembly, which will have its administration activities housed at the Intergroup Office in Port Elizabeth.
The Port Elizabeth District serves to ensure that the message of Alcoholics Anonymous is carried to all who wish to recover from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body and to recover from Alcoholism.
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The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
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