Then & Now: Grey Street Mosque

By Frank Chemaly Time of article published May 23, 2020

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Durban - This week’s picture features the normally bustling Grey Street (today Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street) and the famous Juma Masjid, or Grey Street Mosque.

The old picture was taken from the Facebook page Durban Down Memory Lane, and shows a busy street-front complete with a horse-drawn vehicle. It was taken in 1943, which would have been soon after the last major alterations were done to the impressive Juma Mosque site that, until the 1970s, was the largest in the southern hemisphere.

Land for the mosque was bought in 1881 and its tiny brick-and-mortar structure was converted into the mosque. The first of the two minarets was constructed in 1904, the second added in 1905 along with several rooms, toilets and shower facilities for travellers to use.


The mosque was rebuilt in 1927, designed by Payne & Payne architects, while in 1943 William Bruce Barboure contributed to the design of the complex - a series of interlinking buildings, arcades and corridors, serving commerce, religion and community.

Our photographer, Shelley Kjonstad, shot the modern picture during lockdown, showing a very different looking road. The world’s Muslims break the fast of Ramadan and celebrate Eid this weekend, sadly not in the usual manner.

The Independent on Saturday appeals to readers who have old pictures of Durban and other parts of the province to send them to us for consideration. If any readers are featured in the old picture, we will do our best to recreate the scene with them in it. Readers sending pictures digitally - images should be about 1MB - can address them, with the relevant information, to [email protected] If the pictures are in hard copy format, they can be posted to The Editor, Old Pictures, The Independent on Saturday, PO Box 47549, Greyville, 4023.

The Independent on Saturday

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