I just arrived yesterday in beautiful, sunny Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa yesterday to spend six weeks conducting pre-dissertation research. I previously visited Durban in summer 2013 as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Summer Language Immersion Program and eThekwini (the Zulu name for Durban, meaning “harbor”) quickly became one of my favorite cities in the world. There are so many things to love about Durban, from the beaches (beautiful white sand beaches with perpetually warm water), the bunny chow (the Durban equivalent of a Philly cheesesteak), the numerous historical museums, archives, and sites (see some of them here and my list of places to visit below),and many lovely friends and family that I made last summer.
Though the majority of my timewill be spent at the Killie Campbell Africana Library, digging through the James Stuart Archive, I’m planning on making time on the weekends and in the afternoons to make my way to some old favorites and some new adventures in Durban. Here are some of my plans:
- Springboks v. Wales at King’s Park Stadium
- Last night, I experienced my first South African sporting event when the South African Springboks took on the Wales Dragons at King’s Park Stadium in Durban, winning with ease. And, even better, I got to experience it with my good friend, Jill Kelly, and my new friend, Brady!
- KwaMuhle Museum
- This is one of the most famous museums in Durban. I missed it on my last trip, so I will definitely be making my way there this time around.
- Inanda Heritage Route
- Durban Tourism says that the Inanda Heritage Route represents “some of the most important, albeit little-known, historical sites of Durban,” including the Ohlange Institute, John Dube’s Home, and Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement. I made it over this way last year, though only passed by Ohlange and Phoenix on my way to the annual Shembe Pilgrimage at eBuhleni (which was quite the adventure-one I am hoping to repeat this summer)
- Essenwood Market
- This weekend flea market is held every Saturday in the park just behind the flat where I am staying, so I’m hoping to find some unique jewelry and crafts to bring back for friends and family (and possibly myself!)
- Ike’s Books
- Ike’s is a must-see for any academic in Durban, full of hard-to-find texts. I’ll be going there this Thursday for Tim Gibb’s book launch for Mandela’s Kinsmen, so hopefully I’ll get to meet some interesting folks AND score some new books to feed my bibliophilia.
- BAT Centre
- This art cooperative is one of the best places to go in Durban for original art and to get a sense of the trends. I got a beautiful woodcut print from Malibongwe Shangase last year and I’m hoping to add another one to my collection on this trip.
At the end of my trip, I will also be returning to Pietermaritzburg and making my first trips to Cape Town and Johannesburg, so I am very open to any suggestions for those legs of my trip!