Killing shocks Durban artists

Art dealer Alan Gordon. | FACEBOOK

Art dealer Alan Gordon. | FACEBOOK

Published Mar 17, 2024


Durban’s tight-knit arts community is in shock after the killing of local gallery owner Alan Gordon.

Two people appeared in court on Friday in connection with the killing. Most of Gordon’s family lives in Australia, and his brother, Brian, reported him missing in Koomatipoort on March 8.

Gordon, 57, owned Etchings gallery in Park Boulevard Centre, Durban North, close to his Brown’s Drift home. On Friday, calls to the gallery went unanswered.

Brian travelled to Durban from his home in Mpumalanga to look for Alan. The family said Gordon was originally reported missing by Brian in Komatipoort after a friend alerted him that he had not been seen since March 8. They said a friend had called at Alan’s home to find it locked up, his dogs inside having defecated all over the place.

His siblings said two men, whom Gordon had known for only a few weeks, had been working and living with him. They believed there had been a fight at the residence early last Friday or Saturday morning.

Brian said he had made contact with one of the friends who later appeared to be avoiding his calls. He said he had reported his brother as a missing person to the Komatipoort police on Friday and the case was transferred to Durban.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said Greenwood Park police had investigated and had arrested six suspects aged 18 to 27 years for the murder. They were scheduled to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The National Prosecuting Authority did not respond to queries about the mens’ appearance on Friday afternoon.

Gwala said Gordon’s body was found on Sunday.

“On March 10, the body of the victim was found lying on the roadside in the Dikwayo area in Ndwedwe. It is alleged that the victim was assaulted with a bush knife and was also burnt by unknown people. An intensive police investigation led to the arrest of the suspects.

“It is alleged that the victim was at his place of residence in Durban North when he was attacked by the suspects and his body was dumped in the Ndwedwe area.

“A murder docket was opened at Ndwedwe SAPS and it was transferred to Greenwood Park police for investigation. The motive for the killing is yet to be established,” said Gwala.

An earlier statement released by the Gordon family said they were mourning the loss and believed his death happened during a robbery at his home in the early hours last Friday morning.

The statement said: “Brian commended the Greenwood Park police and a private investigator for their swift work in arresting six suspects. He understands that the two were even handed over to the police by their own families.”

It added that Gordon was born in Empangeni and matriculated at Empangeni High School. He graduated at the University of Natal before getting employment at various companies, including Parmalat and Unitrans. He then became involved in art, something which they said he was passionate about.

The family described Gordon as a kind person who helped others.

“Sadly, this included two of the suspects who allegedly ended up taking advantage of him when he offered them work and sometimes let them stay at his house,” added the family.

The statement said that Brian was of the impression that it appeared to have been a pre-planned robbery in the early hours of March 8, and that Gordon’s bank cards had been stolen and money taken from his accounts.

He is survived by his father Richard, sister Heather Stone and brother Peter who live in Australia, and his brother Brian.

His mother, Gillian, passed away in 2020.

The family declined to comment further, asking for their privacy to be respected.

Durban artist of the KZNSA artist Pascale Chandler, who had met Gordon once a few years ago through an art forum, “Arts Interactive”, said she was devastated to hear the news of his death.

“In terms of the arts community, it is completely shocking. I think under any circumstance it speaks to the crime and violence in the country.

“It is shocking, especially being such a kind and generous person who really worked so hard in our industry which is literally a dying phenomenon in KZN because there are so few galleries left,” she said.

She described the situation as very sad.

“As a community we just find this absolutely sad and shocking. It is devastating,” said Chandler.

Independent on Saturday