Himalaya House

When the Himalaya House apartment-block was built on this site between Etna Lane and Warwick Avenue (renamed Julius Nyerere Avenue), it was the first large high-rise residence in this part of Durban. The apartments were home to a wide range of leaders in the liberation struggle, but this building played a meaningful role in the historical development of the Black Consciousness Movement. After Steve Biko, Barney Pityana, Strini Moodley and other student leaders broke away from the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) to form the South African Students Organisation (SASO) in 1968, they occupied offices in nearby Beatrice Street (renamed Charlotte Maxeke Street).
Saths Cooper was a student activist in the SASO movement and lived in Himalaya House with his family at that time. The Cooper family apartment served as a convenient social space for SASO leaders away from their office, and allowed interaction with struggle veterans who lived at Himalaya House, including Billy Nair. During the course of countless discussions over meals and informal gatherings in this building and other places such as the Alan Taylor student residence, in the late 1960s and early 1970s a new political philosophy emerged. This Black Consciousness Movement not only called for resistance to the policy of apartheid, freedom of speech, and more rights for South African blacks oppressed by the apartheid regime, but also black pride and a readiness to make blackness, rather than simple liberal democracy, the rallying point of unapologetically black organisations.

Location

Address: 165 Julius Nyerere Ave
GPS Points: -29.85286, 31.02419
Site Contact Details: Steven Kotze
Durban Local History Museums
steven.kotze@durban.gov.za
031 311 2239

Image Gallery