LALELA- WENTWORTH ,DURBAN (guest speaker – Rod Choromanski)

Rod Choromanki, invited as guest speaker at the Lalela Awards Ceremony on 30 November 2017,Blue Roof Life Space 178 Austerville Drive,Wentworth-

creative thinking

uMkhumbane Museum, Queen Thomo Memorial. Choromanski Architects

Unveiling of Queen Thomozile Jezangani KaNdwandwe Zulu final resting Place & the Museum – 28 May 2017

Light shed on Zulu queen’s burial site

 10:41 03/10/2010


An Umlazi pensioner may have shed light on the final resting place of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s mother, Queen Thomo Jezangani Ndwandwe, who was buried secretly in Durban in the late 1950s.

Makhosegazi Simelane-Buthelezi this week took City Press and the monarch’s representative, Prince Zeblon Zulu, to a grave site in Chesterville’s Wiggins Road cemetery, where she says the queen’s remains were interred.


Buthelezi’s information could bring relief to Zwelithini, who has no idea where his mother was ­buried.

His mother’s ­departure from the royal household and life thereafter has long been the ­subject of ­speculation and rumour.

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Buthelezi (92) said Ndwandwe passed away in 1958 after a short illness.

“She was secretly buried at Chesterville cemetery,” said Buthelezi, who added that the grave had been neglected.

Buthelezi, who gave detailed information about Ndwandwe’s life, said she and her family were very close to the monarch’s mother.

“She stayed with us at ­KwaBhanki area in Umkhumbane (now ­Mayville).

“We were very close. My ­husband, Mkhishwa Buthelezi, was her cousin.”

She said Ndwandwe was the ­second wife of King Cyprian, who had two other wives – Queen Nompumelelo Masuku and Queen ­Majali. Ndwandwe, she said, “was buried like a commoner after being kicked out from the royal palace by King Cyprian”.

When Ndwandwe came to her house, she arrived with a little boy whose name she could not ­remember.

She said: “The strange thing is that Thomo never mentioned anything about the father of that boy.”

Ndwandwe moved out of her house to rent her own place in Nyaluka, in the same area of ­Umkhumbane.

“She moved out to start a new life. She worked in a doctor’s ­surgery. I was a domestic worker.

“Thomo’s son was stabbed to death and his tongue was cut by ­unknown people at Umkhumbane. The boy was killed while on his way to the shops to buy paraffin,” she recalled.

Buthelezi said the king’s mother was kind.

“She was very beautiful, tall, well-built, light in complexion and had a nice voice,” she said.

In 2006, Buthelezi met ­Zwelithini at an Umhlanga hotel, where she informed him about his mother’s grave.

“He promised to make arrangements so that we could visit the grave, but since then nothing has been done,” said Buthelezi.

Prince Mbonisi Zulu, Zwelithini’s spokesperson, confirmed the royal household heard about Ndwandwe’s grave being somewhere in the Chesterville cemetery after many years of trying to find it.

He said: “Isilo (referring to the king) would be very ­happy to know about his mother’s grave.”

At the cemetery, Zulu pointed out a small hill with several graves on it, but was unable to pinpoint the exact grave.

Zulu said the spot was the same one pointed out to him in 2006 by Zwelithini’s late uncle, Somjumase Ndwandwe, after he had been sent by the king to find his mother’s grave.

“We were unable to find her grave or her name in the register. It might have happened that they ­deliberately changed her name,” said ­Zulu.

Zulu is about to release a second book about Zwelithini’s life, ­Inhlendla Yethusi kaZulu.

In it, he writes that a woman from KwaNyuswa at Botha’s Hill, Mamagasela, came to King Cyprian’s Kwakhangela palace to deliver a “prophesy” that the monarch’s first-born son, Zwelithini, who had not been born yet, would not be raised by his biological mother.

He added that soon after ­Zwelithini’s birth in 1948, he was taken away from his mother and raised by his grandmother, Queen Hlabangani, who was married to King Solomon.

Buthelezi said Ndwandwe never abandoned Zwelithini as she used to send clothes for him.  

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Durban Presbyterian Church. Choromanski Architects

Commercial development damages Heritage Building

1905 heritage presbytarian church Red Hil

Commercial development damages  Heritage Building news article by  R.Moodley – Crit News

Arts Studio 849 Red Hill-1997


Heritage for heritage sake often results in static environments that serve the name rather than the people of a city. Heritage for people’s sake has much more dynamic and profound results. Like many old buildings, 849 Chris Hani Road in Red Hill tells layered stories serving as a reminder, a challenge and a memorial. However, unlike many other heritage buildings it has formed and been formed by the communities around it, posing possibilities for re-imagining public buildings. Its destruction raises questions about who is building our city and what space making in

Tin Temple 849 Chris Hani Rd 1900s

neighbourhoods means in an age of commercial developers.

In January 1905, land on then North Coast Road was bought for R130 to build the Greenwood Park and Redhill Presbytarian Church- a wood and iron building that was the first Presbytarian church in Durban North. The ‘tin temple’ was consecrated on 10 February 1906 to cater for the growing suburb.Since its inception as a church, the building has been used as a warehouse, carpenters workshop, a Swiss Stone Mason’s shop and a community arts centre.

In 1995 Leonie Hall and Rodney Choromanski, a young artist and architect respectively, restored the building and founded the arts centre called Studio 849. It operated for two and a half years asserting art’s ability to empower citizens. Its placement at the beginning of new democratic era linked the studio to projects like the BAT Center in its vision for bridging gaps and celebrating cultural diversity.The project attracted large media coverage, assisting over one thousand students from all ages and cultures within the area and surrounding communities. Its heritage value, position along a main road and quaint aesthetic made it the perfect spot for demonstrating how buildings with public identities can enrich communities.

Durban#Community Arts#Studio 849#Red Hill

Once the arts centre closed down, the Swiss Stone Mason once again took over the building, preserving the heritage and using it for the display and sale of tomb stones. He eventually sold and immigrated.

Driving past the site today, you will see the building destroyed and covered by a commercial development in the community.
Instead of destruction, incorporating the tin temple in the form of a public entrance, gallery or workshop could have not only retained social and heritage value, but also presented possibilities of how a business and the community it is in could interact and be mutually enriching.

We cannot afford to lose these places of possibility to insensitive practice at this time in our country’s history. For architecture to reflect people rather than capital we need to explore innovative ways of making public spaces, commercial viability and heritage work together.

current construction at 849 Chris Hani Rd April 2017


Choromanski, R. October 2016. 849 Chris Hani (North Coast) Rd., Redhill, Durban North. [email]

 Choromanski, R. 2017. Studio 849. Interview with R. Moodley on 21 April. Durban.
 Davis, A. et al. 2003. Not Consumed: Presbyterianism Into the Canefields. Accessed online on 24 April 2017 at

Shevlin, I. April 1997. Sunday Tribune: The OtherMag. Art and Soul.






















Point Timeball Tower. Choromanski Architects

Music Construction

music Choromanski Architects

music and architecture are interwoven 

 architectural drawings, the music score

the building, the music 

every project, its very own spirit & identity

read more about our music construction here

Choromanski says Manteca is more than a music band, it’s a project that regards the audience as being part of the group.

“The idea is to bridge into different fields of art where we have a collective of creative and innovative thinkers in a group and in our community, creating social integration in public spaces.”

The approach was similar to that of Jay Pather, the Durban choreographer “who did amazing work with dancers in public spaces”, Choromanski said.

“Carol Brown, with Red Eye, also did public art… Art is meaningful. Art brings people together.


Point Timeball Tower. Choromanski Architects


Timeball Tower

When creatives present ideas – they are open to critique.

This ‘crit’ is a space of inspiration, influence and potential devastation.

We have taken this process of development and turned it into innovation.

Crit, for Choromanski Architects, implies a creative melting space

Music, sculpture, performance intertwined with community, social and economic.

We imagine design in a full circle of development and collective influences.



wire elegance


Point Sewer Pump Station. Choromanski Architects

“tectonic plates”

tectonic plates