Clockwise from top left: Durban CBD, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World, Golden Mile beach and beachfront skyline, Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre and Durban City Hall.
|• City||225.91 km2 (87.22 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,292 km2 (885 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,600/km2 (6,800/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||51.1%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Postal code (street)||4001|
|GDP||US$ 48.9 billion |
|GDP per capita||US$ 12,884|
Durban (Zulu: eThekwini, from itheku meaning 'bay / lagoon') is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. It forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitian Municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa and Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The municipality, which includes neighbouring towns, has a population of almost 3.5 million, making the combined municipality the biggest city on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. The metropolitan land area of 2,292 square kilometres (885 sq mi) is comparatively larger than other South African cities, resulting in a somewhat lower population density of 1,513/km2 (3,920/sq mi).
- 1 History
- 2 Durban today
- 3 Government and politics
- 4 Geography and climate
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Military
- 8 Informal sector
- 9 Civil society
- 10 Visitor attractions
- 11 Communications and media
- 12 Sports teams and stadium
- 13 Transport
- 14 Suburbs
- 15 Educational institutions
- 16 International relations
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 External links
Archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg mountains suggests that the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers since 100,000 BC. These people lived throughout the area of present day KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu farmers and pastoralists from the north saw their gradual displacement, incorporation or extermination.
Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area until it was sighted by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who sailed parallel to the KwaZulu-Natal coast at Christmastide in 1497 while searching for a route from Europe to India. He named the area "Natal", or Christmas in Portuguese.
First European settlers
The modern city of Durban dates from 1824, when a party of 25 men under British Lieutenant F. G. Farewell arrived from the Cape Colony and established a settlement on the northern shore of the Bay of Natal, near today's Farewell Square. Accompanying Farewell was an adventurer named Henry Francis Fynn. Fynn was able to befriend the Zulu King Shaka by helping him to recover from a stab wound he suffered in battle. As a token of Shaka's gratitude, he granted Fynn a "30-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth."
During a meeting of 35 European residents in Fynn's territory on 23 June 1835, it was decided to build a capital town and name it "d'Urban" after Sir Benjamin d'Urban, then governor of the Cape Colony.
Republic of Natalia
Reports filtered back to the Cape Colony of mistreatment of the Zulu by the Voortrekkers. The governor of the Cape Colony dispatched a force under Captain Charlton Smith to re-establish British rule in Port Natal. The force arrived on 4 May 1842 and built a fortification that was later to be The Old Fort. On the night of 23/24 May 1842 the British attacked the Voortrekker camp at Congella. The attack failed, and the British had to withdraw to their camp which was put under siege. A local trader Dick King and his servant Ndongeni were able to escape the blockade and rode to Grahamstown, a distance of 600 km (372.82 mi) in fourteen days to raise reinforcements. The reinforcements arrived in Durban 20 days later; the Voortrekkers retreated, and the siege was raised.
British colonial rule
A British governor was appointed to the region and many settlers emigrated from Europe and the Cape Colony. The British established a sugar cane industry in the 1860s. Farm owners had a difficult time attracting Zulu labourers to work on their plantations, so the British brought thousands of indentured labourers from India on twenty five-year contracts. As a result of the importation of Indian labourers, Durban has the largest Asian community on the African continent, and has the largest Indian population outside of India.
Durban's historic regalia
When the Borough of Durban was proclaimed in 1854, the council had to procure a seal for official documents. The seal was produced in 1855 and was replaced in 1882. The new seal contained a coat of arms without helmet or mantling that combined the coats of arms of Sir Benjamin D’Urban and Sir Benjamin Pine. An application was made to register the coat of arms with the College of Arms in 1906, but this application was rejected on grounds that the design implied that D’Urban and Pine were husband and wife. Nevertheless, the coat of arms appeared on the council’s stationery from about 1912. The following year, a helmet and mantling was added to the council’s stationery and to the new city seal that was made in 1936. The motto reads "Debile principium melior fortuna sequitur" — better fortune follows a humble beginning.
The blazon of the arms registered by the South African Bureau of Heraldry and granted to Durban on 9 February 1979. The coat of arms fell into disuse with the re-organisation of the South African local government structure in 2000. The seal ceased to be used in 1995.
Today, Durban is the busiest container port in Africa. The Golden Mile, developed as a welcoming tourist destination in the 1970s, as well as Durban at large, provide ample tourist attractions, particularly for people on holiday from Gauteng. The Golden Mile was redeveloped late 2009 in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was resurfaced and widened between Ushaka Marine World and Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Government and politics
With the end of apartheid, Durban was subject to restructuring of local government. The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality was formed in 1994 after South Africa's first multiracial elections, with its first mayor being Sipho Ngwenya. The mayor is elected for a five-year term; however Sipho Ngwenya only served two years. In 1996, the city was changed to Durban UniCity in July 1996 and to eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in 1999. In July 1996, Obed Mlaba was appointed mayor of Durban UniCity; in 1999 he was elected to mayor of the eThekwini municipality and re-elected in 2006. Following the May 2011 local elections, James Nxumalo, the former Speaker of the Council, was elected as the new mayor.
The name of the Durban municipal government, prior to the post-apartheid reorganisations of municipalities, was the Durban Corporation or City of Durban.
Evictions and political controversy
The attack on Kennedy Road informal settlement by an armed mob in 2009 in Durban put local government under sustained scrutiny. It was reported by members of the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement that the attackers were affiliated with the local branch of the African National Congress and associated with the municipal councillor for the ward. It was claimed that the attack was carefully planned and sanctioned by the police department. Academic research seems to confirm that the attackers self-identified as ANC members and that ANC leaders at Municipal and Provincial level later provided public sanction for the attack. Following the attack AbM and the KRDC, democratically elected structures, were removed from the settlement and the provincial government replaced these structures with an unelected ANC affiliated Community Policing Forum. The attacks and forced removal of AbM from the settlement garnered national and international condemnation. 
The government has been under sustained controversy for their eviction of shackdwellers in the Cato Crest area despite a court interdict ordering them not to do so. The General Council of the Bar has also expressed concern over the evictions.
Geography and climate
Durban has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), that closely borders a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Aw), with hot and humid summers and pleasantly warm and dry winters, which are frost-free. Durban has an annual rainfall of 1,009 millimetres (39.7 in). The average temperature in summer ranges around 28 °C (82 °F), while in winter the average temperature is 20 °C (68 °F). Sunrise in Durban on summer solstice occurs at 04h45 and sunset at 19h00; on winter solstice, sunrise is at 06h30 and sunset at 17h20. The rainy season is in summer which begins in November, ending in mid-April. Summers are sunny, hot and humid during the day, but are relieved by afternoon or evening thunderstorms. The city is also occasionally affected by tropical storms and cyclones during the cyclone season, which is from 15 November to 30 April. Winters, which are from June to August, are generally warm and sunny.
Durban and its suburbs are hilly, except for locations in and around the central business district and the harbour.
|Climate data for Durban (1961−1990)|
|Record high °C (°F)||36.2
|Average high °C (°F)||27.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.1
|Average low °C (°F)||21.1
|Record low °C (°F)||14.0
|Rainfall mm (inches)||134
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||15.2||12.9||12.6||9.2||6.8||4.5||4.9||7.1||11.0||15.1||16.0||15.0||130.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||184.0||178.8||201.6||206.4||223.6||224.9||230.4||217.0||173.3||169.4||166.1||189.9||2,365.4|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization|
|Source #2: NOAA (sun, extremes and humidity)|
Durban is ethnically diverse, with a cultural richness of mixed beliefs and traditions. Zulus form the largest single ethnic group. It has a large number of people of British descent and has more Indians than any other city outside India.
The city’s demographics indicate that 68% of the population are of working age, and 38% of the people in Durban are under the age of 19 years.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2008)|
The Durban Metropolitan Area (DMA) has a large and diversified economy with strong manufacturing, tourism, transportation, finance and government sectors. Its coastal location and large port gives it comparative advantage over many other centers in South Africa for export-related industry. Durban's subtropical climate, warm marine current and culturally diverse population has drawn in tourists.
Durban remains the third richest city in South Africa.
The city has revitalised its inner areas with the new Durban Point Waterfront development south-east of downtown sporting uShaka Marine World and many new residential and leisure developments. It is hoped efforts by the city to clean up the business district, new developments in Point and the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium north of the CBD (Moses Mabidha Stadium) will aid in the economic turnaround.
In 2010 Durban was rated a Gamma level Global City.
Durban's economic contribution to the region
The Durban Metropolitan Area is the main economic driver in KwaZulu-Natal, contributing over half of the province's output, employment and income. In national terms, Durban is the second most important economic complex after Gauteng, accounting for 15% of national output, 14% of household income and 11% of national employment. Regional development corridors link Durban northwards to Richards Bay and Maputo, and westward to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.
Militarily, the South African Army's Natal Command was located in Durban for many years. From August 1974 84 Motorised Brigade was based at the Old Fort Road Military Base in Durban. Many of its units were located in Durban. These included the Durban Light Infantry (located nearby in their historic buildings within the Greyville Racecourse), the Durban Regiment, 84 Signal Unit SACS, 15 Maintenance Unit, 19 Field Engineer Regiment SAEC, and Natal Field Artillery, all based in the Old Fort Military Base. Natal Mounted Rifles, or NMR as it is better known, has their HQ a little further north just across from the Kings Park Stadium rugby stadium and the Moses Mabida Stadium. The Umvoti Mounted Rifles are based across the freeway from the Edgewood campus in the old Highway Command grounds. The Bluff Military Base houses a number of units including a sickbay and the local JOC. The Airforce has a base at the old Louis Botha Airport, which is still the home of 15 Squadron SAAF. The Navy has maintained a small presence on Salisbury Island, Durban and there is the possibility that this base will be redeveloped to form a home for the Navy's anti-piracy operations. Some of these units are Traditional South African Regiments.
The city's treatment of shack dwellers has been strongly criticised by a report from the United Nations linked Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and there has also been strong criticism of the city's treatment of street traders, street children and sex workers.
There are a number of prominent civil society organisations based in ethekwini. These include: Abahlali baseMjondolo (shackdwellers') movement which has over 10,000 members, the Diakonia Council of Churches, the Right2Know Campaign, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and the South African Unemployed Peoples' Movement.
- The Golden Mile
- Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World
- The Victoria Embankment (also known as the Esplanade) is home to many tourist sites.
- The International Convention Centre (ICC) – the leading conference centre in Africa for the last 5 years, and rated 4th in the world in 2005.
- uShaka Marine World, one of the largest aquariums in the world.
- Sahara Stadium Kingsmead is a major test match and one-day cricket venue.
- Kings Park Stadium (previously known for sponsorship reasons as ABSA Stadium) is host to the internationally renowned Sharks Rugby Team.
- Florida Road
- Gateway Theatre of Shopping
- Greyville Racecourse (home of the Durban July Handicap) and Durban Country Club and golf course.
- Moses Mabhida Stadium
- Umgeni River Bird Park
- The Markets of Warwick - possibly the largest informal street market in South Africa
- The Pavilion Shopping Centre
Communications and media
Two major English-language daily newspapers are published in Durban, both part of the Independent Newspapers, the national group owned by Irish media magnate Tony O'Reilly. These are the morning editions of The Mercury and the afternoon Daily News. Like most news media in South Africa, they have seen declining circulations in recent years. Major Zulu language papers comprise Isolezwe ( Independent Newspapers), UmAfrika and Ilanga, the latter being seen to be politically aligned to the IFP. Independent Newspapers also publish Post, a newspaper aimed largely at the Indian community. A national Sunday paper, the Sunday Tribune is also published by Independent Newspapers as is the Independent on Saturday.
A variety of free weekly suburban newspapers are published by the Caxton Group and there are numerous "community" newspapers, some of which are short lived and others which have had stable tenure. The tabloid newspaper group situated in North Coast Road, Durban has also added to the variety of community newspapers. They have ten newspaper publications, three of them in the isiZulu language. Community newspapers target specific areas or zones rooting out and exposing community issues like a magnifying glass. These papers rely solely on advertising revenue and are delivered to each house hold irrespective of race or wealth. Many journalists gain experience at these papers before moving on to other major national publications.
A major city initiative is the eZasegagasini Metro Gazette (). It is the official newspaper of the eThekwini Municipality, through which ratepayers and residents are kept informed about projects, programmes and activities of the eThekwini Municipality. It is also a forum for readers’ views. Published fortnightly, the newspaper hits the streets on a Friday morning, with 400 000 copies distributed in English and Zulu. The publication is an in-house product of the Municipality’s Communications Department.
The national broadcaster, the SABC, has regional offices in Durban and operates two major stations here, the Zulu language Ukhozi FM with a huge national listenership of over 6.67 million which makes it the second largest radio station in the world. The SABC also operates Radio Lotus, which is aimed at South Africans of Indian origin. The other SABC national stations have smaller regional offices here, as does TV for news links and sports broadcasts. A major English language radio station, East Coast Radio (), operates out of Durban and is owned by SA media giant Kagiso Media. There are a number of smaller stations which are independent, having been granted licences by ICASA, the national agency charged with the issue of broadcast licences.
Sports teams and stadium
Durban is home to the Natal Sharks who compete in the domestic Currie Cup competition as well as in the international Super Rugby competition. The Sharks play out of the 56,000 capacity Kings Park Stadium, sometimes referred to as the Shark Tank – currently it is known as the Growthpoint Kings Park for sponsorship reasons.
The City is home to two clubs in the Premier Soccer League—AmaZulu, and Golden Arrows. AmaZulu play most of their home games at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. While Golden Arrows play most of their home games at the King Zwelithini Stadium in the suburb of Umlazi, but sometimes play some of their matches at Moses Mabhida Stadium or Chatsworth Stadium.
Durban is also host to the Dolphins, the provincial cricket team. Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener, Barry Richards and David Miller all come from the Dolphins (although it was formally called Natal). Cricket in Durban is played at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.
Durban hosted matches in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. In 2007 the city hosted nine matches, including a semi-final, as part of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. The 2009 IPL season was played in South Africa, and Durban was selected as a venue. 2010 saw the city host six matches, including a semi-final, in the 2010 Champions League Twenty20.
The city is home to Greyville Racecourse, a major thoroughbred horse racing venue which annually hosts a number of prestigious races including the country's premier event, the July Handicap, and the premier staying event in South Africa, the Gold Cup. Another well-equipped Racecourse is located at Clairwood, just south of the city centre.
A professional tennis venue is located at Westridge Park near The Berea, and an Olympic-standard swimming pool is found in the Kings Park Sporting Precinct. In addition to these venues, Durban has facilities for Water Polo, Hockey, and other sports, most notably the outstanding beach front which has played host to numerous water sports events such as the Mr Price Pro (previously known as the Gunston 500) surfing competition and the related Ocean Action festival. Beach volleyball is regularly played on local beaches and Powerboat racing has taken place in the Harbour. Durban and surrounding areas are also well patronised by Professional and Amateur golfers, with the golf course at Durban Country Club near the CBD being particularly well known.
Durban is home to Chad Le Clos, the 200 meter butterfly Olympic Champion in swimming in 2012.
King Shaka International Airport services both domestic and international flights, with regularly scheduled services to Dubai, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius & Harare. The airport opened in May 2010, replacing all operations from Durban International Airport. King Shaka International Airport handled over 5 million passengers in the 2011/2012 year, up over 5.3 percent from the 2010/2011 year. King Shaka International Airport was constructed at La Mercy, about 36 kilometres (22 mi) north of central Durban. All operations at Durban International have been transferred to King Shaka International as of 1 May 2010; with plans for flights to Singapore, London, Doha, Mumbai, Australia, Gaborone, Windhoek, Luanda, Lilongwe & Nairobi.
The Durban International Airport was used by the South African Defence Force during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and as a secondary airport to handle overflow. The airport serves as a major gateway for travellers to KwaZulu-Natal and the Drakensberg.
Durban has a long tradition as a port city. The Port of Durban, which was formerly known as the Port of Natal, is one of the few natural harbours between Port Elizabeth and Maputo, and is also located at the beginning of a particular weather phenomenon which can cause extremely violent seas. These two features made Durban an extremely busy port of call for ship repairs when the port was opened in the 1840s. The Port of Durban is now the busiest port in South Africa, as well as the third busiest container port in the Southern Hemisphere.
The modern Port of Durban grew around trade from Johannesburg, as the industrial and mining capital of South Africa is not located on any navigable body of water. Thus, products being shipped from Johannesburg outside of South Africa have to be loaded onto trucks or railways and transported to Durban. The Port of Maputo was unavailable for use until the early 1990s due to civil war and an embargo against South African products. There is now an intense rivalry between Durban and Maputo for shipping business.
Salisbury Island now joined to the mainland and part of the Port of Durban, was formerly a full naval base until it was downgraded in 2002 to a naval station. In 2012 a decision was made to renovate and expand the facilities back up to a full naval base to accommodate the South African Navy's offshore patrol flotilla.
Durban is well-served by railways due to its role as the largest trans-shipment point for goods from the interior of South Africa. Shosholoza Meyl, the passenger rail service of Spoornet, operates two long-distance passenger rail services from Durban: a daily service to and from Johannesburg via Pietermaritzburg and Newcastle, and a weekly service to and from Cape Town via Kimberley and Bloemfontein. These trains terminate at Durban railway station.
Metrorail operates a commuter rail service in Durban and the surrounding area. The Metrorail network runs from Durban Station outwards as far as Stanger on the north coast, Kelso on the south coast, and Cato Ridge inland.
The city's main position as a port of entry onto the southern African continent has led to a development of national roads around it. The N3 Western Freeway; which links Durban with the economic hinterland of Gauteng heads west out of the city. The N2 Outer Ring Road links Durban with the Eastern Cape to the south, and Mpumalanga in the north. The Western Freeway is particularly important because freight is shipped by truck to and from the Witwatersrand for transfer to the port.
The N3 Western Freeway starts in the central business district and heads west under Tollgate Bridge and through the suburbs of Sherwood and Mayville. The EB Cloete Interchange (which is informally nicknamed the Spaghetti Junction) lies to the east of Westville, allowing for transfer of traffic between the N2 Outer Ring Road and the Western Freeway.
Durban also has a system of freeway and dual arterial metropolitan routes, which connect the sprawling suburbs that lie to the north, west and south of the city. The M4 exists in two segments: The northern segment, named the Ruth First Highway, starts as an alternative highway at Ballito where it separates from the N2. It passes through the northern suburbs of Umghlanga and La Lucia where it becomes a dual carriageway and ends at the northern edge of the CBD. The southern segment of the M4, the Albert Lutuli  Highway, starts at the southern edge of the CBD, connecting through to the old, decommissioned Durban International Airport, where it once again reconnects with the N2 Outer Ring Road.
The M13 is an untolled alternative to the N3 Western Freeway (which is tolled at Mariannhill). It also feeds traffic through Gillitts, Kloof, and Westville. In the Westville area it is called the Jan Smuts Highway, while in the Kloof area it is named the Arthur Hopewell Highway.
A number of streets in Durban were renamed in the late 2000s to the names of figures related to the anti-apartheid struggle, persons related to liberation movements around the world (including Che Guevara, Kenneth Kaunda and SWAPO), and others associated with the governing African National Congress. A few street names were changed in the first round of renaming, followed by a larger second round. The renamings provoked incidents of vandalism, as well as protests from opposition parties and members of the public.
The People Mover is a tourist-oriented bus service which runs every 15 minutes and consists of three routes within the central business district and along the beachfront, connecting various attractions.
Several companies run long-distance bus services from Durban to the other cities in South Africa. Buses have a long history in Durban. Most of them run by Indian owners since the early 1930`s. Privately owned buses who are not subsidised by the government service the communities timeoulsy. Buses operate in all areas of the eThekwini Municipality. Since 2003 buses have been violently taken out of the routes and bus ranks by taxi operators. This has brought bus operations into disarray. Bus owners have bought into taxi operations using their bus permits to make a living.
Durban has two kinds of taxis: metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city to solicit fares and instead must be called and ordered to a specific location. There are a number of companies which service the Durban and surrounding regions. These taxis can also be called upon for airport transfers, point to point pick ups and shuttles.
Mini bus taxis are the standard form of transport for the majority of the population who cannot afford private cars. With the high demand for transport by the working class of South Africa, minibus taxis are often filled over their legal passenger allowance, making for high casualty rates when minibuses are involved in accidents. Minibuses are generally owned and operated in fleets, and inter-operator violence flares up from time to time, especially as turf wars over lucrative taxi routes occur.
Durban is also famous for its iconic Zulu Rickshaw pullers navigating throughout the city. These colourful characters are famous for their giant, vibrant hats and costumes. Although they had been a mode of transportation since the early 1900s, they have been displaced by other forms of motorised transport, and the 25 or so remaining rickshaws mostly cater to tourists today.
|This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (November 2012)|
- University of KwaZulu-Natal
- Durban University of Technology
- Mangosuthu University of Technology
- Varsity College
- Regent Business School
Twin towns and sister cities
- Art Deco in Durban
- Black December
- Durban Industry Climate Change Partnership Project (DICCPP)
- Durban International Film Festival
- World Conference against Racism 2001 – held in Durban
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- Le Port est jumelé à quatre villes portuaires (French)
- Villes de Durban (eThekwini en zulu) et du Port sont jumelées depuis le 4 novembre 2005 (French)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Durban.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Durban.|
- eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality
- Durban Tourism Bureau
- Quarterly Tourism Magazine
- Durban travel guide from Wikivoyage