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For the love of stories: things to do in KwaZulu-Natal

Words by Vuyi Qubeka  . Article from the Getaway online Magazine 2015.

I went on a quest to root out the tradition of storytelling in KwaZulu-Natal this month, for the story “Once Upon A Time” in our June issue. You’ll have to read the rest of the story in the magazine (on sale now!) but here, I’ll offer you some of what I found, and heard.

“We must have been three or four. My twin sister, Nandi, and I were toyi-toying there on the balcony above the garage with no door, looking onto the lush tropical scenery of Durban, branches heavy with dark green leaves, derelict homes peeping out beneath them. It was 1990. Mandela was coming out of prison. ‘uMandela uyaphuma (Mandela is coming out),’ my dad said. I’d never seen such hope-filled joy in his eyes. It filled me up. I didn’t have to ask who this Mandela was…”

His release moved an entire nation. His story permeated our subconscious. The struggle was my first preview into the significance of storytelling, and for me it started in KwaZulu-Natal. Here are a few tips for things to do and places to go in the province where I found the beginnings (and ends) of interesting stories.

Great things to do in Kwa-Zulu Natal

1. Macrorie House Museum, Pietermaritzburg

 

The museum is a step back into the 1800s, and has plenty of interesting detail. Macrorie house has become a South African Heritage Site and National Monument. Guided tours take place Mondays to Fridays during open hours. Adults R10, children R2.
Contact

2. The Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg

ARTing about in the Tatham Art Gallery. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

ARTing about in the Tatham Art Gallery. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

The gallery was built in 1903 and features local ethnic artists, as well as works by artistic legends such as Degas, Picasso, Matisse, Hockney and Renoir.
Contact 033 392 2801.

 3. Pietermaritzburg City Hall, Pietermaritzburg

The PMB City Hall has one of the has one of the finest organs in SA. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

The PMB City Hall has one of the has one of the finest organs in SA. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

The City Hall was completed in the 1900s and is said to be the largest brick building in the Southern hemisphere. It also has one of the finest organs in SA.
Contact Tel 033 392 3000.

 5. Rickshaw Ride on Durban’s South Beach

kzn, june 2015, rickshaw

It’s an old tradition and a thrill. For R50 you can take in the surrounds and enjoy the colourful ethnic accents of the cart and its driver.
Contact 031 322 4164.

 6. Street Scene, Berea

Jonas Barausse of Street Scene stands outside their HQ. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Jonas Barausse of Street Scene stands outside their HQ. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

These passionate hub of storytellers offers a range of trips from city graffiti tours, the Midlands Meander and Inanda Heritage Route, to overnight township and shebeen tours.
Contact 031 321 5079.

And to eat…

7. Prawn Shak, Dokodweni Beach

prawn shak, durban, beer

 

This beach shak is designed to make you linger. It offers a seven-course menu (R185 per person) served slowly between drinks and (epic) tales. Philosophy nights aren’t pre-planned but call Bill to get a sense of expected visitors/storytellers. Take a bank card (no cash accepted).

There’s a seven-course menu served slowly between drinks and (epic) tales. From R160 for eight ‘tasting’ courses and a caipirinha.

Contact 083 303 4746.

8. Rosehurst, Boom Street, Pietermaritzburg

 

Really fun and quaint restaurant set in an old home – each room has been converted into a shop that sells essential fragrance, antique teacups and saucers and other local arts and crafts. The garden is like an oasis, the food hearty, and menu changes every second day.

Contact: 033 394 3833

Want to read the full story? Our June issue in on sale now – click the cover below to see more from this issue!

More info on the town of the Natal Midlands More info on the eThekwini area

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