uMkhumbane Museum Memories
A 10 day countdown from conception to completion of the uMkhumbane Museum. A short glimpse into some of our favorite stories and photos along the journey from a community rich in culture and history. A community which resonates across the city.
Light shed on Zulu queen’s burial site
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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#ICYMI: WATCH: Cato Manor Museum opening and unveiling of the tombstone of the Queen mother
Camera- Bonani Mbatha
Editor- Londiwe Gumede pic.twitter.com/YrqCFM4OLE
— The Mercury™ (@TheMercurySA) May 30, 2017
Rivertown,Beer Hall,Milne Drain Development
Project by the Architecture Department,eThekwini Municipality and Choromanski Architects
The city of Durban was originally a mangrove wetland and an adjacent secondary dune of the Durban Beach. Two Vleis, namely the eastern and western dominated the landscape, thereby restricting city settlement. The Milne Drain together with other drains that still exist, serve as a memory to the once wetland of Durban. Owned by the municipality, the Beer Hall with its prime location along the historical Milne Drain, robust heritage architecture, and its past decadent legacy of use and identity made it a meaningful transformation project to initiate the Rivertown Cultural Precinct, which was made public at the UIA Conference hosted by Durban in 2014. The Milne Drain initially was an open channel, which fluctuates due to tidal change. It was later given a concrete cover over its entire length, which still exists today. In 2014, the cover was removed in cut sections that were re-used as benches within the new Milne public area and within the Beer Hall courtyard, which could be replaced when needed. Planting was included along the open edges of the drain, creating a soft green zone amongst the hard industrial facades of the surrounding urban environment and serving as a reminder of the marshlands. The existing workshop buildings of clay brick and asbestos to the technical centre were removed thus creating a multi-purpose open courtyard at the centre of the complex. A portion of the John Milne Road boundary wall to the perimeter of the Beer Hall, was demolished, allowing the public to be drawn into the central courtyard from the Milne’s Drain Public area where they are then able to circulate through the courtyard and gallery spaces The two primary buildings are to be converted into galleries and multi-purpose facilities of which the DAG building will be converted once the collection storage is relocated to a new home. The opening of the drain as a test,exposed the challenges such as:
- Health hazard due to very poor quality of water as a result of uncontrolled disposalof contamination by property owners,which eventually contaminate the Harbour
- Vermin and pests
- Tidal movement which restricted refuse in the Drain to flush out
- Informal use of water by homeless people and their activities such as wetting of cardboard for higher sale price
Further research is needed with regards to the stormwater disposal through the Precinct, from existing and proposed building stock, roads and sidewalks, and how this could be managed to establish an eco-aware community who will be sensitive to environmental destruction, and avoid contaminated stormwater flowing into the Harbour and Sea. Similarly to the Vleis performance as filters before city settlement The development to establish a walkable back of beach Precinct which Durban does not have, thereby supporting the transformed beach promenade of 2010. The cleansing of the Drain through innovative management and engineering which could become a landscaped public space through the city grid together with the historical Victoria Park. The Milne Drain could transform into landscaped public space connecting the city to the natural edge of the harbour with cultural buildings at both ends: the Beer Hall in Rivertown and The Bat Centre near the harbour in Cato Creek; a cultural node, which was established in 1994. The 800 metres distance between the two active city nodes, namely ICC and Beach Promenade enables the Precinct to support a walkable connection.
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.
- #Green Building Principles in #KwaMashu Durban – #FIFA 2010 training venueAugust 7, 2018 - 8:31 pm
- The Rivertown Beerhall & Milne Drain Public Space – UIA 2014 congress,legacy projectFebruary 22, 2017 - 3:49 pm
- uMkhumbane_Cato Manor_Heritage Place- Africa Architecture Award 2017 Grand Prix WinnerFebruary 15, 2017 - 10:27 pm
- What is African ArchitectureMay 7, 2018 - 1:04 pm
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