Warwick Avenue area forced removals

Spanning Old Dutch Road, the main traffic artery from the west, was a residential neighbourhood on the lower slope of the Berea, known as the “Duchene” or “Dutchies”. Settled by former indentured Indians and bordered by the Western Vlei, it was on the outskirts of town yet close to markets and transport routes. After the Vlei was drained and social institutions were established in the area during the 1930s, it flourished. New residents from other groups moved into the network of narrow lanes and the mixture of semi-detached houses, outbuildings, blocks of flats and businesses created a new social character. This racially diverse community of largely working class families was identified as a Slum Zone in the late 1930s, and was subjected to commissions of enquiry regarding so-called Indian “penetration” into White areas. The area west of Warwick Avenue (renamed Julius Nyerere Ave) was declared a White Group Area in 1963, resulting in the displacement of a thriving racially diverse community. The area on the north side of the freeway was zoned for educational purposes in order to make way for the construction of Technikon Natal (now Durban University of Technology) in the 1970s, and the remaining triangular residential portion on the south side of the freeway became known as the “Warwick Avenue Triangle”. Residents of this area resisted relocation for over 20 years and many still lived in the area in the 1980s when the idea of relocation was finally abandoned. It is one of the few inner-city “black spots” in the country that survived apartheid forced removals.

Location

Address: ‘Duchene’: Winterton Walk
GPS Points: -29.85286, 31.02419
Site Contact Details: Steven Kotze
Durban Local History Museums
steven.kotze@durban.gov.za
031 311 2239

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