Logie Naidoo next to the statue of her late husband, Dylan.
Logie Naidoo next to the statue of her late husband, Dylan.
The dermatologist haunts the building on the corner of Alan Paton and Lena Ahrens Road.
The dermatologist haunts the building on the corner of Alan Paton and Lena Ahrens Road.
Logie Naidoo looks at a portrait of her late husband, Dylan.
Logie Naidoo looks at a portrait of her late husband, Dylan.
TheIndependent on Saturday was investigating serial killer Daisy de Melker and where she trained in Durban as a nurse.
TheIndependent on Saturday was investigating serial killer Daisy de Melker and where she trained in Durban as a nurse.
Durban - The legacy of much-loved top Durban dermatologist, Dylan Naidoo, lives on in what is arguably Glenwood’s grandest building, the freshly painted building with a tower at the corner of Alan Paton (MacDonald) and Lena Ahrens (Manning) Roads.

And it’s all to do with his having had such a passion for building and the practice he built up, according to his widow, Logie.

She said it’s important to understand in life that the soul never dies.

“If you have a passion or love for something, your presence is felt.”

Dylan died of cancer three years ago.

However, he was reported to have been seen inside the centre after he had died, Logie told The Independent on Saturday during an investigation to establish exactly where in Durban South Africa’s first serial killer, Daisy de Melker, had trained.

While the grand Glenwood building had once been a nursing home, it turned out that was much later than De Melker’s time as a student nurse at the Berea Nursing Home.

But strangely enough, there was also a ghostly link related to the presence Naidoo left behind.

“One evening when the practice was closed, the neighbour came to tell us that they saw him walking inside the practice.

“They recognised a bald man walking inside the practice,” said Logie.

Naidoo’s life was diametrically opposed to the evil that dwelt inside De Melker, who was accused of poisoning her son and two husbands and whose spirit has been said to haunt the Berea Nursing Home. Naidoo’s life was spent helping others, with emphasis on respect for the humanity in every individual, regardless of race, creed or background.

Logie said patients had seen Dylan wave from a framed picture which sits above his treasured sayings: “Complacency is a disease. Satisfaction is Death. Excellence is the moving target.”

The staff have also sensed his presence.

“They have found that they walk past his fragrance - that makes you know he is here.

“And that’s Dylan. He made his presence felt.”

He would have turned 60 this week. Staff at the centre, including Logie, who is a pharmacist, celebrated with a cake beside a statue of him in the “heritage section” of the building.

Birthdays are currently treated as important events in the building that was built to be the Bulwer police station, then became the Berea Nursing Home, which Rose-Christie called the Berea Nursing Home, and then a hotel and an old-age home.

“The majority of staff come from underprivileged backgrounds, living in single rooms. We make sure they are the happiest they can be on their birthdays.”

Now working as counsellors, chefs, receptionists and managers, some started out as car guards.

Others arrived after being noticed during the Naidoos’ unconventional scouting efforts.

“Or when we went shopping and saw a lady offer us a trolley, we would give her a better job. If a waitron was very polite to us at a restaurant, we would want the person on our staff.

“We would go out there and feel the energy.”

Logie recalled that back in 2005 when she and Dylan acquired the building, it really looked like a haunted house.

“I thought, wow, this man must have a great vision to want to come to a house that is so run-down and think that this is where he’ll make it all happen.

“Considering the background that he came from - he was selling peanuts in Chatsworth, with no bank balance - how was he going to make this all happen?

“But it took a man with great vision to make it all possible,” Logie said.

She recalls cockroaches on the floor.

“It was ugly. We walked on beams to get from one space to another.” Her husband often stayed at work late and used his passion for art to paint over defects, including cracks in the walls.

“There are some things you cannot correct. You can just make them better, and art is such a beautiful way to connect to the soul.”

Other legacies of the building’s past are double doors put in place so that wheelchairs could be pushed in and out of the wards and steel bars on the small windows useful for a police station.

Then there’s the tower.

“We heard that the brigadier in charge of the police station would go up there and watch the ships and keep an eye on the harbour,” said Logie.

Since the building became a dermatological centre, a local couple approached Dylan to ask if they could spend the night of their anniversary up in the tower.

“It seemed crazy but Dylan was a person who gave his soul to everything.

“He wore the shoes of other people and let them have their dreams.”

The centre has a spiritual feel to it and is rich in its decor, reflecting a variety of faiths and themes: portraits of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi; statues of Buddha; artwork depicting Hindu and Islam, a Jewish Hanukkah menorah nine-stick candle and African wood carvings.

“He was an all-encompassing human being and he believed in everything he never aligned himself with a particular religion,” said Logie.

Further investigation by The Independent on Saturday as to the location of the Berea Nursing Home revealed the home was at 399 Ridge (Peter Mokaba) Road and is now the site of Ridge Park College.