Berea Road in about 1937 from the top floor of the newly completed Berea Court.
Berea Road in about 1937 from the top floor of the newly completed Berea Court.
Berea Road, now King Dinizulu Road, from the same position today.
Berea Road, now King Dinizulu Road, from the same position today.
Berea Road took its name from the Bible. When Captain Allen Gardiner arrived at the Bay of Natal in 1835, he sought the support of Dingane to preach Christianity among the Zulus.

Rejected by Dingane, Gardiner returned to the port where he was welcomed by the few settlers.

Taking comfort from the story of St Paul who found refuge at Berea in Macedonia after he had been rejected by the Jews of Thessalonica (Acts 17:10 and 11). Gardiner built a tiny church and school, naming the settlement Berea. It was he who suggested that the proposed township be named after the Cape Governor, Sir Benjamin D’Urban.

The first photo of Berea Road was taken in about 1937 from the top floor of the newly completed Berea Court at 399 Berea Road (corner of Hunt Road). In the centre of Berea Road is a row of flamboyant trees. At the end of the row, Old Dutch Road branches to the left, while Berea Road continues to the right. The building in the right comer, then known as Hotel Matexas, still stands there. As Berea Road was an important thoroughfare in and out of Durban, the widening of the road became a necessity. In the 1970s, all the houses on the left were demolished to make way for a freeway.

The recent photo, again taken from the top floor of Berea Court, offers a substantially different view of the city and harbour. Designed by Langton and Barboure in 1937, Berea Court is today student accommodation. The Art Deco building has recently been repainted, and some of the stained glass, including scenes of the Bluff lighthouse and another of a vintage plane, survived.

The Independent on Saturday