uMkhumbane Museum. Choromanski Architects

African Architecture Awards Countdown – Day 10


uMkhumbane Museum Movie Entry

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.

Culture     Community

Person      Place

Art             Activism

View UIA 2017 Outstanding Paper/ Design Work Presentation

UIA 2017 Seoul World Architects Congress. Choromanski Architects

UIA 2017 World Architecture Congress Seoul Korea -Rod Choromanski & Mhlengi Gumede awarded outstanding paper / Design Work Presentation Award

O-0860 Umkhumbane Cultural Place (paper pdf )

uMkhumbane Museum, Cato Manor, Durban, South Africa. Choromanski Architects

africanism weekly news – August 16,2017

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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uMkhumbane Museum, Cato Manor. Choromanski Architects

uMkhumbane_Cato Manor_Heritage Place- Africa Architecture Award 2017 Grand Prix Winner

 Project by the Architecture Department,eThekwini Municipality and Choromanski Architects

Black Africans came to settle in Cato Manor during the 1920s, and rented land from Indian market gardeners who occupied the area since the early 20th century, as the apartheid system restricted settlement in the city.

Cato Manor covers a geographical area of approximately 1800 hectares and is situated approximately 7 kilometres from Durban’s City Centre. It is currently the home to an estimated 93 000 people who settled in the area through mass invasions in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.Cato Manor had been left vacant since the 1950’s and 1960’s following apartheid forced removals of an estimated 150 000 people. Today, Cato Manor residents include some of the poorest of the urban poor, despite the successes of the EU funded Cato Manor Development Association (CMDA) programme.

The area remains characterised by a high unemployment rate and social fragmentation. At the same time, Cato Manor residents are increasingly taking the initiative in the development of the area and there is a high level of community organisation, citizen action and participation. The Cato Manor Area Based Management (ABM) Unit of the Municipality seeks to work with these strengths and build on post-infrastructure development and consolidation processes such as social upliftment, responsibility and cohesion; community planning and participation; economic development and skills development.

The city’s Economic Development Unit together with Parks Recreation and Culture and the CMDA identified Cato Manor as an ideal location to develop The “uMkhumbane Heritage Site ”, to preserve the areas rich cultural and political history and stimulate innovation. The site at the confluence of two major arterials is crossed by the uMkhumbane River and included in the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (DMOSS) and in close proximity to mixed residential areas, businesses and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

The first project reports responding to the heritage project were compiled in 2003 and an architectural competition by the City Architects laid the foundation for the appointment of the professional team. A master plan created by Choromanski Architects, incorporated the vision of the “uMkhumbane Heritage Site ” which compliments the Cultural Renaissance Programme of the eThekwini Municipality, and includes the following:

a cultural park and public square,

galleries for permanent collection on forced removals, focusing on the struggle by women and children and temporary collections,

dedicated space for community exhibitions,

gathering areas for oral, performance, installation exhibits,

social gathering areas for functions, eg. book launches, festivals (film, writers, poetry, dance, music)

concession areas including traders market stalls,

theatre as multipurpose space,

children’ innovative facilities,

linking of the development to tour routes through the community and surroundings areas, thereby extending the innovative entrepreneur spirit from the “uMkhumbane Heritage Site ” through Cato Manor and Surroundings

Funding for this project was initially provided by Lotto who together with the city stimulated momentum for the development, which was complimented by the donation of land for the site by the UKZN.

This site on the banks of the uMkhumbane River is also especially significant as it was chosen by the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini for the reburial

of the remains of his late mother in May 2011,Queen Thomozile Jezangani KaNdwandwe Zulu,who passed on in December 1959

A process of co-creating regenerative and enabling systems, where the project serves as a catalyst within its immediate environment, creates structure to enable the health of the surrounding community and natural environment. The activation of a neglected apartheid buffer zone along the uMkhumbane River to become a Heritage and Innovation Site

Creating new unique African Identity and Brands towards stimulation of a Township Economy

South Africa has a very wealthy history that is only now being appreciated for its complexity and diversity…”