Day six - Durban,
8th October 2007

Another day spent exploring Durban, but first I had to meet my beautiful partner Michele who had just flown over from Perth to join me on my trip between Durban and Cape Town.

Image right: Michele arrives at Durban airport

On the corner of Durban Club Place facing the entrance to Mugabe's Durban Manor at the back of Nedbank are the only remains (seen right) of the original Durban Club which was knocked down in 1902 soon after the end of the Boer War. Durban was originally laid out by the Boers who migrated across Griqua territory in the late 1830s and settled in Natalia. The surveying of Durban was done in 1840 and the Durban Club purchased the land from the Widow Strydom, known as the healing lady, in the 1850s.  

The old Durban City Hall dominates an entire city block of the CBD and I spent many happy hours exploring the natural history museum that takes up much of its exotic, colonial interior.

Then it was time to explore the dangerous streets of the CBD where gangs hang out and muggings take place. Did not worry me as I am teflon coated! Saw several more white tramps today. These poor people have no support base and will just simply die in this impoverished state.

You can buy anything
on the streets of Durban

How's that for value!
About US$2

The City Council

Building - stunning

City Council

Building views

Playhouse Theatre

Rhino

Dodo

Lion

Great

collection

Flamingo

Top of the old

Royal Hotel

The Durban Club
Title Deed

The Durban Club

The talk of the Durban Club is the wide-spread rumour that the building and land is now owned by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe - through the front of the female Zimbabwean doctor (seen right) who now lives in the USA. This photo sits in the stairwell of the Durban Club.

David Bennets, the President of the Durban Club, told me that the Club had to sell the property as the membership of this exclusive gentleman's club has dropped from 1800 in its hey day to just 380 today. They could not afford to maintain it. The white population of the central CBD has dropped dramatically with members moving out to the suburbs.

The Club now has a 99 year lease with Mugabe's front woman - and the building cannot be knocked down because it is heritage listed. How Cecil Rhodes and the men of old would turn in their graves if they knew what had happened to their dear club!

I have a couple of sets of their extremely rare 1860 Durban Club 6d - the first token coins issued in South Africa. 

Later that evening Chele and I met with her family in Durban....

 

Sitting on the over 100 year
old weighing chair

Rickey Reddy in the
Churchill Room

Rhodes' bust

The ornate cornice at
the Durban Club

Boys in the bar
Bennets in black jacket

On the bar counter

Scott behind the bar

With one of the last remnants of
the old Durban Club

Chele at the Durban Club

Chele with her sister

Preparing for bed

Return to Scott Balson's 2007 book tour