Victoria Street Beerhall (eMatsheni)

Location

Address: corner of Bertha Mkhize St and Fishmarket St

From 1909 until the late 1960s Durban municipality held a monopoly on the production and sale of traditional African beer, called utshwala. Beerhalls were known informally as “eMatsheni”, or “the place of stones”, a name that originated from the large stones outside Durban railway station that African women sat on while selling beer, before the beer monopoly was introduced in 1908. The Victoria Street beerhall, built in 1909, was the first of many municipal beerhalls, occupied this site adjacent what was then called the ‘Indian Market’. Revenue from sales of beer in beerhalls funded a repressive system of social control for Africans. According to Act No. 23 of 1908, income from municipal beerhalls was used by the Native Administration Department to defray expenses incurred by the administration of the Act, and supposedly for “native welfare” or other interests of Africans residing in a town. In reality, for more than 70 years, income from the monopoly was spent on the establishment and maintenance of barracks, hostels, beerhalls and breweries, as well as subsiding the cost of policing the town. The area in front of the beerhall in Victoria Street market was also used by the municipal police as a holding area for people arrested during raids for “pass” law violations, before they were taken to the Central Prison.

As this “eMatsheni” and others were seen as central symbols of the Durban system and a means of limiting economic activity by African women, it was attacked during beerhall riots that took place in Durban during 1929 and 1959.

Indawo yokuphuzela utshwala eku-Victoria Street (eMatsheni)

Kusukela ngonyaka ka-1909 kuze kube ngasekupheleni kweminyaka yawo-1960 umasipala weTheku yiwona wodwa owawunelungelo lokukhiqiza uphinde udayise utshwala obubizwa ngomqombothi. Izindawo zokuphuzela zazaziwa ngokuthi kuseMatsheni, noma “indawo yamatshe”, igama elasunguleka ngenxa yokuba khona kwamatshe amakhulu ngaphandle kwesiteshi sesitimela eThekwini lapho abesifazane boMdabu babehlala khona ngesikhathi bedayisa utshwala, ngaphambi kokuba ilungelo baphucwe leli lungelo ngo-1908. Indawo yokuphuzela utshwala eku-Victoria Street, eyakhiwa ngonyaka ngo-1909, kwaba yiyona yokuqala ezindaweni eziningi zikamasipala zokuphuzela utshwala eyayakhiwe eceleni kokwakubizwa ngemakethe yamaNdiya (Indian Market) ngaleso sikhathi. Imali eyayitholakala ngokudayiswa kotshwala ezindaweni zokuphuzela yayixhasa uhlelo olucindezelayo lokulawula abaMnyama. NgokoMthetho uNo.23 ka 1908, imali eyayingena ngezindawo zokuphuzela utshwala zikamasipala yayisetshenziswa uMnyango we-Native Administration ukukhokhela izindleko zokubhekelela ukusebenza kwalo Mthetho, kanye “nenhlalakahle yabomdabu”, nezinye izidingo zabaMnyama ababehlala edolobheni. Iqiniso, ngaphezu kweminyaka engama 70, imali eyayitholakala ngokudayiswa kotshwala ngale ndlela yokuphuca abantu ilungelo lokubudayisa kube ngelamasipala kuphela yayisetshenziselwa ekwakhiweni nasekuphathweni kwezindawo ezazihlala amasotsha/amaphoyisa (barracks), amahostela, izindawo zokuphuzela utshwala kanye nalapho buphiswa/buvutshelwa khona utshwala, kanye nokuxhasa izindleko zokuqapha idolobha. Indawo ephambi kwale ndawo yokuphuzela utshwala esemakethe eku-Victoria Street yayisetshenziswa futhi amaphoyisa kamasipala njengendawo yokugcina abantu ababoshiwe ngesikhathi kuseshwa abantu abaphula “umthetho wamapasi”, ngaphambi kokuba bahanjiswe eSentela (eCentral Prison).

Njengoba indawo yase“Matsheni” (nezinye izindawo) yayithathwa njengendawo ewuphawu lohlelo lweTheku nanendlela yokuvimbela abesifazane abaMnyama ukuba benze ibhizinisi, yahlaselwa ngesikhathi kunemibhikisho eyayibhekiswe ezindaweni zokuphuzela utshwala eyenzeka eThekwini ngesikhathi ngo-1929 nango-1959.

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