Museum to immortalise Warwick Triangle memories

The Klopse or Minstrels music bands refered to as the Coon Carnival in apartheid. The formative years of the Duchene Darkies band in Straford Road circa 1940`s. In the picture are (left to right back) Rodger Lecur, Blues Crowie,unknown, Alfie Isaacs, David Kaydd. Seated- Hendry Rose, William Alfred Timm, Henry Crowie and unknown. These music bands painted their faces and wore colourful outfits. They paraded the streets in unison singing aloud their favourite hits of the yesteryears.

Moves are afoot to establish a Warwick Museum to commemorate and remember the good old days of the Warwick Triangle community which was displaced to other parts of the city during the apartheid era.

Many Austerville and Merebank residents had some sort of personal attachment to Warwick Avenue before it was torn down by the dreaded Group Areas Act and people were forced to move to the south Durban suburbs.

Residents who lived through the 60s,70s and 80s have fond memories of Warwick Avenue. Many spent their childhoods and the history buff pushing for the museum is asking for former residents to share any photographs they may have from that time.

 READ: Bluff News from the 1950s – PART 1

Memories are what history buff, Zainul Aberdeen Dawood hopes to preserve in the museum.

The former resident is trying to turn a dilapidated house into the Warwick Avenue Museum Durban. The museum material will be based on the work by the Research of Curries Fountain and Surrounds (ROCS) heritage research project based at the Durban University of Technology, which was co-ordinated by Leonard Rosenberg and hopefully contributions by acclaimed photographers and the general public.

The buildings that once stood on Old Dutch Road before Etna Lane.

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The proposed museum will cover the area between Curries Fountain, Botanic Gardens Road, King Dinizulu (Berea) Road and Julius Nyere (Warwick) Avenue. The infamous interior roads were Wills, Acorn, Stratford Road and Etna Lane.

“Currently I am engaging with the municipality to lease a dilapidated house and restore it. The house we have chosen is historically situated. For now it’s a pipe dream,” Dawood said.

“Museums around the country have blossomed over the decades into tourist attractions. The District Six Museum in Cape Town and Sophia Town in Johannesburg and South End Museum in Port Elizabeth come to mind. The Warwick Museum will be identical to these three museum concepts.
The motto is to promote (the history of the area), preserve (by recording it) and educate (the general public). Images can be digitised so in one part, you can see thousands of pictures in the space where only one picture frame could fit.”

Warwick Avenue in the 1970`s. Kajimusa Building (left). Further was Singhs Mutton Market, Johns Building and Himalaya House.

The depth of information available on the Warwick Avenue and Berea area is tremendous. Before people settled here, wild animals roamed free which are depicted by the elephant sculptures on the N3 freeway off-ramp to Warwick Avenue. The last elephants were shot in the Berea around 1870.
Anyone who would like to contribute information and photos can email [email protected]

A reunion of ex-Warwick Avenue residents, to share nostalgic moments and memories, will be held at the St Anthony`s Hall on Saturday, 27 May. Residents who lived in the area are urged to join the meet and greet event. For more information, contact Gregory Coleman on 082-877-0496.


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Lauren Beukes

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