Take a fascinating journey through the past as you visit museums, homes and hideouts of the regions many anti-apartheid activists by following the KwaZulu-Natal Freedom Route, which spans the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Visit the KwaMuhle Museum and view Durban through the eyes of African’s who lived and worked here from 1928 to the late 1980s – learn more about labour regulations, separate housing and the subsequent protest action. Or venture into Cato Manor, an informal settlement on the outskirts of the city, and visit the Cato Manor Heritage Centre. Large black and white photographic prints vividly depict the stark realities of evictions, rebellion, riots and suppression. Be sure to visit the Ohlange Institute in Inanda, that was founded by John Langalibalele Dube in 1901. He was a teacher, publisher, editor, novelist, poet and politician, and founded the Inanda Seminary Institute for Girls because he wanted them to have a Western education but not lose their African roots. He also wanted black people to go into business and in 1903 founded Ilanga, an isiZulu newspaper. A man of vision, who as founding President of the ANC, sowed the seeds of the democracy we appreciate today.
Durban’s past is also revealed in its architecture, with a profusion of Colonial, Cape Dutch, Indian and even Oriental styles. From the neo-baroque City Hall, the Tudor-styled Playhouse, the neo-Gothic style of the Emmanuel Cathedral and the many Victorian and Georgian styled buildings in popular Florida Road. As well as the Juma Musjin Mosque with its gilt-domed minarets and marbled worship hall. This mosque, also known as the Grey Street Mosque, is the largest in the Southern hemisphere. In Chatsworth there is the Temple of Understanding, the largest Hare Krishna Temple in Africa whose architecture was inspired by the lotus flower.
But the best way to feel the rhythm and vibe of the City and to experience it’s history and culture is get to know the people – have a bunny-chow or traditional Durban curry at one of the many curry restaurants in Durban, feel the vibe at a local township tavern while shisanyama (barbequed meat) sizzles on the open fire or dine in style with perfectly plated fusion cuisine at a local restaurant. Put your dancing shoes on and move to the sound of local jazz at The Chairman – appreciate the wall of album covers behind the bar, symbolic of the way messages were passed during the Apartheid era. And experience the rhythm and soul of Africa at the Bat Centre, Durban’s multi-purpose centre for the performing arts. The colourful buildings with their murals, mosaics and artwork are home to artists-in-residence, galleries and performances of music, poetry and the spoken word… check out their Facebook page for details of upcoming events
Whats On In Durban
DID YOU KNOW?
In 2018 Durban became the first city in Africa to be named a UNESCO World City of Literature. With three literary festivals – Poetry Africa, Time of the Writer, and ARTiculate Africa; the Durban International Film Festival and a long list of writers and poets including Gcina Mhlophe, Fred Khumalo and Mazisi Kunene. And of course, KZN is Alan Paton country!