For Online E-newspaper
The East African : June 2nd 2014
II t≥avel A histo≥ical tou≥ of hot and spicy Du≥ban Spoilt fo≥ choice given the many tou≥ist att≥actions, we went on the Inanda He≥itage Route, w≥ites SUSAN MUUMBI D urban is known as the warmest place to be in South Africa. This is both because of the warm weather throughout the year, and the warm-hearted people. I soon found out that the warmth referred to the meals as well. There is obviously a strong Indian influence on the hot and spicy food. Durban is home to the largest Indian population outside India; the first Indian labourers arrived there in 1860. It is the largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, located on the warm Indian Ocean. Tourists are drawn to it for its weather, beaches, seafood and relaxed atmosphere. There are many tourist attrac- tions in Durban including one of the world’s largest aquariums, the Ushaka Sea World, boat tours and visits to game reserves. Spoilt for choice, we went for a history lesson on the Inanda Heritage Route, north of Durban. Our first stop was the Phoe- nix Settlement, established in 1904 by Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi. We saw the house where he lived — now rebuilt; his International Printing Press and Museum. Gandhi lived in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. A lawyer by profession, he arrived in the region to represent an Indian client. After experiencing the entrenched racial discrimination in the country he started his nonviolent protest movement called Satyagraha. The complex race relations played out as Gandhi focused his attention on Indians, and opposed the idea that they should be treated at the same level as native Africans. One of the statements on a plaque at Gandhi’s house — now a museum — reads, “A general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are a little better, if at all, than savages or the natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.” Our next stop on the heritage trail was the Ohlange Institute, where Ohlange High School is situated, the first school in South Africa started by a black person. It was founded in 1901 by John L Dube, on return from his studies in the US. Dube was the first president of the African National Congress party. He was also a musician; a publisher; launched in Durban on May 9, it was just two days after the first children of a free South Africa had voted for the first time.” ‘‘ the first Zulu newspaper Ilanga laseNatal and published the historical book Insila kaTShaka. His house is now a national monument; his grave and those of his wife and sons lie outside the house. Born on the same date that he died (February 11, 1870 – February 11, 1949), the date is significant to the black freedom struggle. Nelson Mandela was released from jail on February 11, 1990. It is said that he was supposed to be released earlier, but waited for this date in honour of Dr Dube. On April 27, 1994, Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his life, at Ohlange High School. After he voted, he visited Dube’s grave where he said: “Mr President, I have come to report to you that South Africa is free today.” When I arrived in Durban on May 9, it was just two days after the first children born in a free South Africa had voted for the first time. I stayed at one of the hotels at the beach front, the SunCoast, on the invitation of South African Tourism. Depending on which side of the corridor your room is located, you either get a view of the beach or the backsides of the buildings. I got the buildings, but at least they were well constructed. The beach at Durban is busy, especially in the mornings, evenings and weekends. There’s so much to do there; Walk the dog, go swimming in the ocean, ride your bicycle, jog, take a walk, rollerblade, attend a zumba/ aerobics session. So I went for a walk, and discovered that that particular section is called Thekwini Beach. It is clean and well organised, with hotels along the When I arrived (Left) Dr John L Dube’s grave in Inanda in Durban. (Top) View of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, with its iconic arch. (Right) Plaque outside Gandhi’s house at Inanda in Durban. Pictures: Susan Muumbi The EastAfrican MAGAZINE MAY 31 - JUNE 6, 2014 beachfront, food malls, and even a casino. The beach is safe, by day or night, as there are security officers standing at strategic spots and a police post not far off. One evening, my friends and I walked along the beach in search of a popular seafood restaurant called Ocean Basket. It was closed by the time we got there. Undeterred, we found our way to a family-owned Indian restaurant for some delicious hot, spicy food. We chose to take a taxi back to the hotel. So warm is Durban that the talkative taxi driver, feeling the heat, enjoyed his icecream while driving us back. Not far from the hotel is the Moses Mahbida Stadium, named after a former general secretary of the South African Communist Party who was a stalwart of the armed struggle against apartheid. The stadium hosted one of the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, and is a key part of the city’s identity. The feature that stands out most at the Moses Mabhida Stadium is its grand arch, at 350m long and 106m high. A high-tech sky car whisks visitors up the soaring grand arch to a viewing platform at its peak, for a 360° view of the seafront and the city. There’s also a 500-stair adventure walk up the arch. Unfortunately, I did not get to visit the stadium, which warrants another visit to the city — hopefully some time soon.
May 26th 2014
June 9th 2014