The Cato Manor Museum, which includes the grave of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s mother, Queen Thomozile, is the first phase of a park that will ultimately include a hotel and restaurants.
Outlining the second and third phases of Cato Manor Freedom Park at the opening of the landmark museum, the head of eThekwini Municipality’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, said there would also be space for the sale of crafts, particularly those of the Zulu nation.
“The aim is to revive the Cato Manor, uMkhumbane area,” he said.
The opening was attended by King Zwelithini, who together with his queens and other members of the royal family laid wreaths at the grave of his mother.
She died in 1959 and her remains were “lost” at the Chesterville cemetery before being found and reburied in Cato Manor in 2011.
Premier Willies Mchunu described her as a pillar of the area who was resting where she had lived among the people.
Sinothi Thabethe, director of Local History Museums, explained that the five-storey museum would include the history, customs and traditions of the Zulu nation.
In it would also be artefacts and information capturing the history of Cato Manor, which was named after Durban’s first mayor, George Christopher Cato.
This was before its African residents renamed it uMkhumbane after a local river.
South African history speaks of Sophiatown and District Six, but not of uMkhumbane, where different races lived before being similarly forcibly removed to KwaMashu, Umlazi and Chatsworth in 1954 when it was declared a white area in terms of apartheid.
Ngcobo added that the rooftop of the museum would be open for an aerial view of the area, one of the few places where people could “breathe the air of freedom,” said King Goodwill.
The people of Cato Manor had turned the “curse” of apartheid on its head and were united, something which had always eluded South Africans, he said.