Just 20 odd minutes outside of Durban (by way of bus, minibus-taxi or cab), lies the city of Inanda, a city that was not only home to the founding father of the ANC, John Langalibalele Dube, but was also home to Mahatma Gandhi.
On leaving Durban at 9:30am we were handed our “goody bags” (filled with yummy biltong, cashews and jelly-beans!) and headed out of the city under the beautiful blue skies that Durban is renowned for, arriving at our first stop, the residence and “base camp” of Mahatma Gandhi .
It’s here at the settlement of Phoenix (also known as “Bombaai” to the local residents) that Gandhi established in 1904 the “Indian Opinion” (an activist newspaper). Gandhi, along with his followers and his family also refined and practiced his philosophy of “passive resistance” during their stay at this settlement.
The houses that Gandhi and his family lived in is now home to the interpretive center, and the building that the newspaper was printed from is today the museums office. This is a part of Durban history that everyone should be travelling to!
After an excellent presentation and poem read by a local school girl, the group split in different directions to explore the site, camera’s armed. I couldn’t help but be a little overwhelmed by the site, it’s difficult to stand in the very places that courageous men once stood, and not be impressed and in awe of the strength in their convictions!
I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. – M.K.Gandhi
The next on the list was the Ohlange Institute (or the Ohlange Native Industrial Institute as it was known then). The Ohlange Institute was established by the Rev. John Dube in 1901. John Langalibalele Dube is not only accredited with being the first President of the South African Native National Congress (later the ANC) but was also the founding editor of the Ilanga newspaper and the first principle of Ohlange High School.
Dube’s accolades don’t stop there, he was also a poet, novelist, essayist, philosopher and on top of everything else, he was also a friend to and collaborated with Mahatma Gandhi! Dube’s house still stands today, not far from his memorial.
Just a short stroll from Dube’s house stand the Ohlange Institute‘s hall, a simple building (the “Dr JL Dube Interpretation Centre“) stands. It’s here that Nelson Mandela cast his vote in South Africa‘s first democratic elections in 1994. To step inside this modest building and to reflect that this very building was witness to the culmination of a peoples fight for freedom, well it’s just simply a very moving moment.
From the busy streets of Inanda, onto the dirt and stone roads of Inanda, to the picturesque and rural Mzinyathi Falls situated at Ebuhleni. In Zulu, “mzi” means “home”; and “yathi” is buffalo… so simply, “home of the buffalo” (though I’m not sure when last this area saw buffalo!).
Standing on the edge of the cliff, it’s hard to believe we’re just 20min as the crow flies from the city of Durban. The falls drop into a thick indigenous forest that follows the carved valley towards Durban. Not only is the view photogenic, but the falls also serve the Baptist Nazareth Church (Shembe) as a site for baptisms.
Nearby the paved pathway to the falls, is a well-used path that darts into the thick surrounding vegetation and disappears down the steep hillside; scramble down the path and follow it to the large overhanging rock caves where you’ll usually be greeted warmly by the smiles of the small Rastafarian clan living there!
Unfortunately they weren’t there to greet us, but they’re a warm group and it’s here they gather for their meetings. One or two of the Rastafarian’s do live here permanently, so do be respectful when visiting.
After the falls had been photographed and the Rastafarian caves explored, there was only one stop left, Sbu’s Lounge in Inanda where the smell of “braaivleis” (barbecue for those not from SA) had me salivating!
Here we were treated to the skills of local chef’s like Lungile Msomi, Khutso Nhlapho and Albert Thani Mkhize, with the event being hosted by “Master Chef” judge Benny Masek Wameng and Tatum Keshwar (Miss South Africa 2008).
After sampling some of the prepared dishes (simply awesome) it was then back to the bus for our return back to Durban city, a trip that had me dozing a little I will admit (hey, it was a fun-filled day!).
Although I’ve traveled this route before, I’ve always traveled it as a guide, with one eye on the clock. This is the first time I’ve able to enjoy the route as a tourist, and I enjoyed every last second of it!