Located at 130 Bram Fischer Road in Durban, The Kwamuhle Museum was once the headquarters of the City's infamous Native Administration Department as well as serving as the centre of Durban's harsh system of labour control. It has been beautifully transformed into a museum that provides visitors with the opportunity to reflect on the city's urban growth and the history of its residents from a variety of different viewpoints.
Open Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 16.00 and on Saturdays from 08.30 to 12.30, visitors are first greeted by an elegant arch-lined veranda and large sturdy copper-covered entrance doors. Step inside and you can discover what life was like in and around Durban during and leading up to the apartheid era. The exhibits include photographic prints of township life and introduce you to the ordinary people who contributed to the laying of the foundations of Ethekwini's development.
The exhibitions at Kwamuhle Museum
There are a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Museum with a major attraction being an exhibition entitled "The Durban System". It includes well-researched texts, black and white photographs and a themed environment. Working together they provide an insight into this particular form of urban control. Included in the system is a municipal monopoly on the production of Zulu beer the creation of beer halls and provision of segregated accommodation.
- The Mkhumbane Gallery is also part of the Museum and displays photographs taken by SB Bourquin. This gentleman served as the Director of the Department of Bantu Administration between 1953 and 1973. The photographs relate to the forced removal of people from Mkhumbane, the Departments role and function and the development of various townships. Recently, an exhibition of bottles unearthed during the recent underpinning of the building had been added to the gallery.
- The courtyard is another interesting feature of the museum and contains a sculpture by Durban-born artist Ledelle Moe. Called The Shadows of the Past it is made up of three naked figures sitting and looking out onto the courtyard. The sculpture represents migrant workers with the nakedness of the figures representing the lack of protection. The sitting position relates to the idea of waiting.
- Inside the courtyard there's also a community mural completed in 1998. The mural describes the African male workers' experience of the Municipal Native Affairs Department. Depicted in the mural are the Blackjacks in the Municipal Native Affairs Department, migrant workers queuing, the passbook, a medical doctor, a traditional doctor and the story of dipping.
- There is also a muti garden located in the courtyard that is a reference to local indigenous knowledge systems. Examples of native plants such as Agapanthus, Wild Dagga and Iboza can be found in the garden.