The Inanda Heritage Route visits the Inanda Valley
Inanda Heritage | Woz’eNanda
If you are looking for something to do in Durban that takes you away from the beach to a valley with mesmerising history, then take the guided Inanda Heritage Route.
The Inanda Heritage Route visits the Inanda Valley – a densely populated semi-rural settlement roughly 30 km outside of Durban.
It explores four major movements, which were to have an extraordinary effect on this stretch of the M25 – Gandhi’s movement of passive resistance (Satyagraha), John Dube’s Ohlange Institute for African boys (he was also the founder of the ANC), the Shembe church, and the Inanda Seminary, a mission secondary boarding school that catered exclusively for African girls.
Mahatma Gandhi was to spend twenty one years in the country. His life was shaped by a number of events in South Africa, including the now famous incident when he was thrown off a train for sitting in the ‘whites only’ section. These shaped his passive resistance movement.
His communal Phoenix settlement was on a 100 acre farm that contained his home, a community centre and the printing press from which he produced the Indian Opinion. Today what remains of the farm is dedicated to a museum where history is laid out on panels across the walls. It makes for very interesting reading.
Just up the road from the Phoenix Settlement was John Dube’s Ohlange Institute, established in 1901, the first educational institution founded by a black person in South Africa, on land donated by the chief of the AmaQadi, and modelled on the Tuskegee University in America. John Dube was to become the first president of the African National Congress (ANC).
The school’s emphasis was on developing students’ self-reliance, teaching not only basic education but also vocational skills like journalism, shoe and dressmaking, carpentry, motor mechanics and agriculture.
John Dube and Gandhi were not only friends, they shared a common philosophy. Two other organisations and movements – Isaiah Shembe’s Shembe religion, and the Inanda Seminary, a girls’ school founded by the American Board of Missions – were also neighbours of Gandhi.
The four “shared a deep spirituality, a lively social conscience, a commitment to hard work, a hunger for education and an intense concern for the weakest and poorest in society.”(a quote on the community centre wall at the Phoenix Settlement).