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Thursday, August 16, 2018


(Photograph of the Old Court House Museum courtesy of

It’s not quite Madame Tussauds, but the Movers and Shakers exhibition at the Old Court House Museum tells a wonderful visual story of the men and women who made KwaZulu-Natal the place it is today. Small three-dimensional models of the people who played pivotal roles in the development of the region, from activist Mahatma Gandhi to author Alan Paton, are on permanent display, supported by framed photographs and documentation explaining who’s-who. It’s a great way for visitors (and locals!) to gain a better understanding of the history of our province, and wonderful day out for school children.

The  museum also houses a fantastic research centre, which is open to the public, so if you find yourself particularly taken with one or more of the characters on display, a bit of digging in the archives of the museum is to sure to provide the information you’re looking for!

Once a courthouse, the Old Court House is the oldest public building in the central business district. It was loop-holed during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.  It bore witness to both the South African Wars and the Bhambatha Uprising. More recently, it also served as a canteen and recruitment centre during the two World Wars and then later as a library, before being converted into Durban’s biggest history museum. It boasts two floors of exhibition space depicting aspects of the region’s early history.

Visit the Old Court House Museum, just a stone’s throw from the City Hall, where the background and development of Natal’s multi-cultural heritage converge. The exhibitions are both conventional and exploratory while the exhibits are arranged thematically.

This is the resource centre for the Local History Museums. Should you be seeking a more in-depth perspective of Durban’s history you are invited to visit the enquiry section to view photographs and documents in the comfort of our study area. The archives are open to learners, academics and the general public for research purposes.

The Old Court House Museum is situated at 77 Samora Machel Street in Durban. Telephone: 031 311 1226 / 2229 or email: