Tour overview

Umkhumbane historically goes without saying that it was once an area that was filled with human spirit, coexistence and diversity was the order of the days.

Available evidence shows that African Communities settled the area of Umkhumbane during the pre-colonial. During the early years of the 19th Century, European Settlers began to occupy the Port natal concentrating on the Harbour and Berea area.

The emergency of Umkhumbane as a growing sack settlement began in the 1920s and was accelerated by rapid African urbanization and the growth of the manufacturing industry. The area was an epicenter of cultural and political activity. It consisted of teachers, preachers, political activists, nurses, shebeen owners, musicians, hawkers and gangsters. Workers from nearby compounds and hostels came to the vibrant spots.

Given to George Cato as a compensation for his land, which was transferred to the Army, the 1800 hectares farm called Cato Manor, developed  from a family farm to small-scale farms let to mostly Indian farmers. Indians and Africans co-existed side by side up until 1949.  The tension, which was caused by discrimination and segregation policies, culminated into violent clashes between Africans and Indians in 13 January 1949.

The communities were later force- removed by apartheid.  A situation was described by many as the end of a community spirit and the birth of spiritless township culture. Due to the forced removal about 100 000 Africans and 40 000 Indians were moved to areas such as KwaMashu, Umlazi, Chatsworth and later to Phoenix.  The area remained neglected and vacant for 30 years and only re-emerged as a highly contested urban space in the late 1980s

In recognition of its significance, Umkhumbane like Sophiatown and District 6 became one of the largest urban development projects in South Africa by being accorded a Presidential Lead Project in 1995. Vast amount of government resources as well as donor funding notably from the European Union were ploughed into the area. The area became available for settlement by originally displaced community or descendants and subsequently became a large-scale development scheme to test the sustainability and replicability of new housing development policies.

MIN 4 PAX

R465 Half Day Tour

Highlights include:

  • Shembe Church
  • Umkhumbane Museum
  • House of Virgin Girls
  • Visiting a Sangoma (Traditional Healer)
  • The Unique Wall
  • The Oldest Catholic Church

MIN 6 PAX

R315 Half Day Tour

Highlights include:

  • Shembe Church
  • Umkhumbane Museum
  • House of Virgin Girls
  • Visiting a Sangoma (Traditional Healer)
  • The Unique Wall
  • The Oldest Catholic Church
  • What is included!

    • Local Transportation
    • Tour Guide
  • What is not included!

Download pdf brochure

Cato Manor Museum

Cato Manor, a township boasting a unique multi-cultural community, informal settlements and various religious sites, is perhaps best known for its dramatic history of forced removals. Through large black and white prints, the Cato Manor Heritage Centre vividly exhibits the stark realities of evictions, rebellion, riots and suppression.

Hero’s Acre: Nate Nankasa

Nakasa was awarded the Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard University in 1964. The government let him go on the condition that he not return. He died in New York a year later.
He was buried in a cemetery in New York State but his remains arrived on home soil last month.Mary Papayya from the Nat Nakasa Bring Home a Hero Project says his family and friends have been waiting for this moment for years. "Nearly 50 years later we're doing what Nat asked for. It was always his wish that he must be brought back home. When you speak to friends who knew him and his family, they say his last wish was to come back home."Nakasa died after falling from a high rise building in New York in an apparent suicide in 1965. Nakasa's flag-draped casket was led by a procession of Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans and police followed closely by his family on his arrival at Durban's King Shaka International Airport on 19 August. Nakasa has been hailed an unsung soldier who could finally come home.

Rajab

Situated in Mayville next to Jabula Super Market.

Shembe Church

Situated in Chesterville Extention 1 is one of the extra ordinary heritage places you wish to visit. The place is very beautiful especially if you would visit is on Saturday where you will be exposed to their celebration and witness the whiteness if the place when it packed.

Mashamplane Shisa Nyama

Situated in Chesterville Extension 1 intersection, Mashamplanez Lounge is the new kid on the block which already has a following and a vibe; it definitely has to be one of the hidden shisanyama treasures in Durban. Shisanyamas have become meaty attractions, and what I love about Mashamplanez Lounge, apart from its flavoursome quality meat seasoned with tasty spices and sauces, is that you are welcome to bring your own cooler box with your preferred refreshments. I have visited almost all township shisanyama spots in Durban and I have to give a standing ovation to their service. There are hardly any long queues waiting to buy meat or drinks, and their meat is served hot off the grill. As you wait for your meat, the air will be filled with good music (on Sundays) from local DJs, laughter, the clinking of glasses, and making new friends will be the order of the day.
The owner of the place is always hands-on, making sure people are served in time and that the place stays clean. It is a must visit for Durban tourists and locals when looking for a great afternoon to relax and socialise.

Umkhumbane Museum

Cato Manor has a long and interesting history and the pulse of the area still beats strong, with a large informal settlement sitting alongside commercial enterprises, as well as the newly opened uMkhumbane Cultural and Heritage Museum. Named after the river that runs through it, uMkhumbane is the big brother to the Cato Manor Heritage Centre.

Reed Dance

Get the opportunity to view the core culture of what Cato Manor / Umkhumbane has to offer. You will get to view and learn the process on how young girl get tested if they still virgins or not. This process enables them to enter into a reed ceremony that happens annually on September (Heritage month) at Nongoma. During the ceremony, these virgin girls proudly dance for the king as they embrace their culture.

Traditional Healers

You can’t leave Umkhumbane without meeting our friendly traditional healers. They are gifted by talking to our ancestors. Get the opportunity to learn more about the medicine and how it cures. You will also get to learn why they dress in this particular way as it has it significant.

Download pdf brochure