The history of Durban is fascinating, there are so many characters that influenced the path South Africa would take, names such as Mahatma Gandhi, Moses Mabhida, Nelson Mandela and John Dube. On our Zulu and Indian Cultural Day Tour from Durban we learn a great deal more about these individuals, their influences and their legacy.
On our tour we’ll visit the Ohlange School founded by John Dube as well as the Phoenix Settlement founded by Mahatma Gandhi. We’ll also drive through a contemporary rural Zulu township and visit a Rastafarian commune and learn about Isiah Shembe. The day isn’t complete without a visit to the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the cherry on the top would be a taste of Durban’s favorite street food, a bunny chow!
John Langalibalele Dube
Born in 1872, John Dube was educated both in South Africa and in the USA. He was exposed early on in life to the ideals of Christianity thanks to his Grandmother Dalitha who became the first convert of the Lindley Mission Station in Inanda.
John’s father was a minister so it’s no surprise that John spent his formative years around American and European missionaries of the time. John was introduced ti William Wilcox and developed a relationship that saw him accompany Wilcox to the USA for further studies.
On John’s return to South Africa he married Nokutela Mdimaand together they went on to start a number of schools and a newspaper. John even went on to found a Black teachers union, and possibly even more important, he was a founding member and president of the South Africa Native National Congress, the precursor to the ANC (African National Congress).
John Dube’s role in fighting for the rights of Black South African’s cannot be overstated, so much so that when Nelson Mandela cast the very first free and fair election vote in South Africa, he did so at the school the John Dube founded, the Ohlange School.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came to South Africa in 1893 to do some legal work on behalf of a relationship. Durban the first year of his stay in Durban and Pretoria he both witnessed and experienced the appalling treatment of the Indian people at the hands of the White South Africans.
Gandhi made the decision to devote his time and efforts in improving the life of Indian people both in South Africa and in India by peaceful demonstration against unjust laws. He developed a strategy called satyagraha where campaigners would hold peaceful marchers and demonstrations and allow themselves to be arrested and sometimes even beaten.
Gandhi was a great author and published many pieces both in his own newspaper, The Indian Opinion as well as in other publications. Through his writings and staunch advocacy of Indian rights, he was able to overthrow a number of acts in South Africa that were created to restrict the rights of Indian people.
Gandhi’s actions were important on many fronts; he showed what the power of the people could achieve against a despotic government if they stood together with a common goal and he brought together the fractured Indian community.
Today visitor can learn more about Gandhi by visiting the settlement he founded, the Phoenix Settlement. There, visitors can visit his home (a rebuilt version, the original was destroyed) as well as read more about him at the interpretive center.
Born in 1865, Isiah Shembe is an important figure in the Zulu / Christian community. Whilst a young, Shembe received visions of God and heard the voice of God speak. Shembe resisted the commands initially but after being struck by lightening and seeing some of his children pass away, he did as commanded.
Isiah Shemba was by all accounts a charismatic man and was able to build congregations in a number of areas. On top of being a preacher, Isiah Shembe was also a healer and prolific composer. During his time, his church became the largest African-initiated church in Africa! Although splintered today, the Shembe people are still a large practicing group of the Zionists.
Booking a Zulu and Inian Cultural Day Tour from Durban
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