Born in Hammersdale Township - also known as Mpumalanga - in 1959, Gcina Mhlophe-Becker is a well-known South African freedom fighter, activist, actor, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author.
She does her most important work through charismatic performances, working to preserve storytelling as a means of keeping history alive and encouraging South African children to read.
She tells her stories in four South African languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa. Mhlophe has appeared in theatres from Soweto to London and much of her work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese. She has travelled extensively in Africa and other parts of the world giving storytelling workshops.
Currently, Mhlophe focuses on making books available to poor South African rural communities by making sure that libraries are built and are stocked with locally and culturally relevant books.
Sibusisiwe Violet Makhanya
Sibusisiwe Violet Makhanya was a pioneer social worker, who received acclaim both locally and abroad for her innovative social welfare programmes among the community of Umbumbulu. She was born at Umbumbulu, a village to the south of Durban, on the 4 October 1894, the eldest of seven children. Her father was Nxele Jeremiah, a cousin (brother) of the then ruling Chief Mthambo Makhanya. Other children after Sibusisiwe were Qonda, Tyson, Franck Babane, Gilbert, Constance Nte and Virginia. Her mother was Nomagqoka, a Maphumulo from Umzinyathi in the Inanda district. Her mother had been one of the first students at Inanda Seminary, when it was run by the first Principal, Mrs Mary K. Edwards, an American missionary. Sibusisiwe received her primary education at Umbumbulu, her high school education at Inanda Seminary, and trained as a teacher at Adams College.
Grey Street Shops in Durban
Durban holds a treasure of cultural and architectural landmarks that shows the diversity of our cultures. It tells a story of where we have come from and the history we created amongst all odds.
The Grey Street complex in Durban was the largest Indian business district, with various stores and traders. It was never a smooth ride for the Indians that occupied this part of town as it was controlled by the white authority and there was a threat of being moved to the outskirts of the city. In 1957, The Group Areas Act restricted the area to Indian business use only, creating Eastern and Western boundaries in the city; however in 1973, the area was declared an Indian business district. The Indians who lived in the flats above the shops were never removed, the complex became one of the few areas where Indians were allowed space in the city centre.
Popular eating venues in Grey Street were Kapitan’s Balcony Hotel and GC Kapitan's which was a vegetarian take away well known for their bunny chow. They were opened to cater for the Indian immigrants but became popular with black people as well.
If people needed to relax after work, they could visit the Goodwill Lounge owned by Pumpi Naidoo. It was a social hangout for well known and rich people that provided live jazz performances. The first Indian owned cinema in Grey Street was called Rawat’s Bio. In 1953, Ramnikal Goshalia opened the Naaz Cinema followed by the opening of the Shah Jehan Cinema in 1956 by the Rajab brothers, named after the emperor responsible for building the Taj Mahal. It was situated at 279 Grey Street and it was the largest cinema in Grey Street seating 800 people in the main circle with three private boxes.