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Sunday, December 22, 2013


Adams and Archetype Press recently launched Durban: Once Upon a Time by Franco Frescura from the UKZN School of Architecture in association with Barbara Maude-Stone (co-author with Yvonne Miller of Dear Old Durban published 1998).

Durban: Once Upon a Time is an exploration, on a number of levels, of Durban during the post-colonial era. It is a collection of romantic images from a time gone by which, together with the memories of a number of Durban’s early residents, paints a picture of when life was conducted at a more leisurely pace. A life populated by shopping trips to West Street, milkshakes taken at the Model Dairy on Ocean Beach, dressing up for the July and sailing to England on a stately mail ship.

Or, if you choose, it begins to explain why early Durban developed close to The Point, how the lower part of West and Pine Streets remained, for many years “the preferred habitat of several species of waterfowl” or why the Borough of Durban, in its pioneering years, was perpetually bankrupt.

Readers can discover the fables, myths and social perceptions that colour that history of Durban and give context to the memories of its old residents. The book seeks out the silences inherent in the town’s early days, most particularly during the first years of the 20th century, and gives them voice. In the process, it reveals the presence of a very large, very real elephant that still inhabits Durban’s living room.

NB: Watch this space for a review early in the New Year.