Having spent a year in England, I was primed for the colonial side of Durban. The colonial street names are on their way out as we encounter double barreled street names like Solomon Maglangu rather than singular names such as Moore road. I have no idea who Edwin Swales is so I am happy to see him go. I am quite happy to see more african changes. But there is still places like Victoria embankment and Queensborough. In fact the colonial side of Durban is very difficult to erase.
So I went to visit the colonial centre of Durban, and little England it is, from the sweet little hanging baskets (the pay and display parking also very reminiscent of olde England),
to the surprisingly undamaged royal statues and arches.
This is the city hall
Identified as South African from the cycads in front. (could be India from the palms).
In this precinct there are, as in all of Durban, the most amazing trees tat have just burst fort in flower. The alien police have not got here yet. This comes from Madagascar..looks like a normal tree for most of the year and then suddenly bursts into these amazing inflorescences. South African plants are beautiful, but some of these foreigners are utterly stunning.
No this was very british. Its the playhouse theatre
Teir shows are, however very African in style although they may have european origins. Inside it is quite stunning..with some very African artifacts. How about an African style corset?
The other import from Britain was the buying up of tickets and reselling them with an additional 50% price tag, I discovered when I wanted to see Handels Messiah over Easter. Someone called Zee had bought “too many tickets”. Strangely she hadnt even paid for them yet…sounds like some inside job too.
Open a space, and Africa will fill it. And so I wandered into a vibrant flea market
with some stunning shweshwe clothing (not shown here) and beadwork.
There were amazing fever trees..my favourite African tree..I love the colour of their trunks and the generous spread of their canopies.
There were also relics of the colonial and apartheid masters juxtaposed between the lightness of the market.
Open spaces also mean busking and this was a play with the audience. Difference to Blighty..less white skin thats all.
An odd and largely unnoticed sculpture was this Eduardo Villa’s mother and child. His sculptures appear in odd places in Sout Africa, and is a comment on te soft roundness of Africa compared to the hard sharpness of Western intellect. An unsung ant-Western commentator.
Ten I walked through the alleys to the Docks and unexpectedly in a dark narrow alley, I found this:
Rather taken over by a huge concrete monstrosity.
Durban has enormously diverse architecture..none of it all together but interspersed with hideous uncared for blocks. below is a beautiful art Deco building next to this pink thing.
This is on prime estate overlooking the harbour. Durban has these orphans needing paint and love but some may be too awful to do anything about. This is the view from these buildings.
And so I drove home, passing these iconic (art deco?) warehouses that sets the imagination off when you consider that they could be filled to the brim with sugar.