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For other uses, see Durban (disambiguation).
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Durban is a vibrant cosmopolitian city in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. It is also known by Zulu-speakers as eThekwini, the meaning of which is unclear (guesses range from 'lagoon' to 'the one-testicled one'). Since 2000, a number of towns, including Durban, have been part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

Durban is being marketed as "South Africa's Playground". It has a population of about 3.1 million people with diverse cultures including a large Indian community making Durban the second largest city in South Africa.

While Johannesburg has embraced its new Afro-centric nature, and Cape Town has held on to its Euro-centric culture, Durban has emerged as an Ethno-centric city - a polyglot of Eastern, Western and African cultures, each of which give Durban a distinctly unique flavour.

Durban is primarily a 'holiday city'/beach resort, but at the same time is South Africa's busiest container port and has a substantial industrial sector. The port is one of the world's largest natural deep water ports.

The long continuous stretch of hotels that line the city's beachfront is known as Durban's Golden Mile.



The Zulus called the almost land-locked lagoon "Thekwini" (lagoon) and used to set out elaborate fish traps in the shallows. On December 25 1497, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama anchored at present day Durban and named the natural harbour "Rio De Natal" (Christmas River). It was also called "Parva de Pescaria" (the fisheries) because of the fish traps.

In 1824, British traders and adventurers Lieutenant Francis Farewell and Mr Henry Fynn and their party left the Cape Colony in order to establish an ivory trading business in Natal. Later that year Nathaniel Isaacs went on a mission to rescue them, and together they established a trading post after land was granted to them by King Shaka of the Zulus, which they named Port Natal. The small settlement grew into a town and in 1835, Port Natal was renamed Durban in honor of then Cape Colony Governor, Sir Benjamin d’Urban. The Voortrekkers arrived over the Drakensberg mountains in 1838 and after a series of battles the Cape government built a fort. The area was finally annexed to the Cape Colony in 1844.

In the late 1800s, the British shipped in thousands of indentured labourers from India and other Asian countries to work on the sugarcane fields. The Indian population has grown and is now the densest concentration of Indians outside India.

In the 1990s, Durban usurped Cape Town's position as South Africa's second-largest city, although the two are very similar in size.

Durban was the site of the controversial 2001 World Conference against Racism.

Places of interest

  • Roma Revolving Restaurant, similar to London's Post Office Tower (although smaller in scale), is a prominent building from the port with, as the name suggests, a rotating circular restaurant room that provides 360 degree views of the city, but it is sadly dated.
  • The port and waterfront, Beachfront, City Hall, Durban Horse Race Course, Berea, Umhlanga Rocks.
  • The BAT centre (
  • The new aquarium, Durban's Aquarium - uShaka Marine World, one of the largest Aquariums in the world.
  • Sahara Stadium Kingsmead is a major test match and one-day cricket venue.
  • Outside of the city centre is the Valley of a Thousand Hills a dramatic geographical rock formation created by the Mngeni River and its tributaries.

Famous references

Mohandas Gandhi, India's famous political and symbolic figure (who fought for his country's independence from Britain) worked as a lawyer in Durban and stayed in the country for 20 years. The tactic of passive resistance, used effectively in India to gain independence from the British in 1947, was first employed by Gandhi in South Africa to protest the racial discrimination that was endemic there (and which eventually led to Apartheid).



Durban has seven freeways: the N2, N3, M4 (Northern Freeway), M4 (Southern Freeway), M7, M13, and M19. Durban is a meeting point for the N2 highway (from Cape Town) and the N3 highway (from Johannesburg) at the Westville Four-Level Interchange (official name E.B. Cloete Interchange), otherwise known as Spaghetti Junction. The city has a very good road network, driving through the city centre should be avoided due to traffic jams.

The N2 connects Durban with Cape Town via East London and Port Elizabeth, and with Richards Bay on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The N2 is better known as the Outer Ring Road. The N3 connects Durban with Johannesburg. The M4 Northern Freeway links the northern suburbs of Durban with the KZN North Coast, while the M4 Southern Freeway connects the Durban CBD with Durban International Airport and the KZN South Coast. The M7 connects the N2 and the Durban South Industrial Basin with the N3 and Pinetown via Queensburgh. The M19 connects the N2 with Pinetown via Westville. The M13 acts as an alternative to the N3, which is tolled at Mariannhill, as well as feeding traffic through Gillits, Kloof, Westville and Durban.


Durban International Airport provides air transportation for the city. There are plans to move the location of the airport to La Mercy, a site north of the metro area not too far from Gateway, one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere. Durban International Airport is served by all major South African Airlines. Links within the country and to Swaziland, Mozambique and Mauritius exist.


Durban is Africa's busiest general cargo port and home to the largest and busiest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere. [1] (


As of the census of 2001, there are 3,090,117 people and 786,745 households residing in Durban. The racial makeup of the city is Black African 68.30%, Coloured 2.82%, Indian/Asian 19.90%, and White 8.98%.

21.3% of all households are made up of individuals. The average household size is 3.93.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.7% under the age of 15, 21.2% from 15 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 14.5% from 45 to 64, and 4.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 25 years. For every 100 females there are 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.5 males.

In the city 1.4% of residents speak Afrikaans at home, 30.0% speak English, 0.2% speak IsiNdebele, 3.4% speak IsiXhosa, 63.0% speak IsiZulu, 0.1% speak Sepedi, 0.7% speak Sesotho, 0.0% speak Setswana, 0.0% speak SiSwati, 0.0% speak Tshivenda, and 0.0% speak Xitsonga. 0.9% of the population speaks a non-official language at home.

68.0% of residents are Christian, 15.5% have no religion, 3.2% are Muslim, 0.1% are Jewish, and 11.3% are Hindu. 1.9% have other or undetermined beliefs.

10.0% of residents aged 20 and over have received no schooling, 13.3% have had some primary school, 5.7% have completed only primary school, 34.6% have had some high school education, 26.8% have finished only high school, and 9.6% have an education higher than the high school level. Overall, 36.4% of residents have completed high school.

53.9% of housing units have a telephone and/or cell-phone in the dwelling, 41.2% have access to a phone nearby, and 4.9% have access that is not nearby or no access. 68.9% of households have a flush or chemical toilet. 85.4% have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week and 1.8% have no rubbish disposal. 50.5% have running water inside their dwelling, 69.7% have running water on their property, and 99.9% have access to running water. 72.0% of households use electricity for cooking, 71.5% for heating, and 79.7% for lighting. 75.9% of households have a radio, 62.3% have a television, 12.3% own a computer, 63.1% have a refrigerator, and 37.5% have a cell-phone.

27.9% of the population aged 15-65 is unemployed. Of the unemployed persons, 88.6% are Black African, 1.8% are Coloured, 8.2% are Indian/Asian, and 1.4% are White. 36.8% of Black Africans are unemployed, 18.3% of Coloureds, 10.9% of Indians/Asians, and 4.4% of Whites.

The median annual income of working adults aged 15-65 in the city is R 20,695 ($3,111). Males have a median annual income of R 24,851 ($3,735) versus R 16,927 ($2,544) for females. The median annual income by race is R 13,460 ($2,023) for Black Africans, R 33,137 ($4,981) for Coloureds, R 30,258 ($4,548) for Indians/Asians, and R 68,649 ($10,318) for Whites. The annual income distribution in Durban is:

  • No income 2.2%
  • R 12 – R 4,800 ($2 - $721) 7.9%
  • R 4,812 – R 9,600 ($723 - $1,443) 14.1%
  • R 9,612 – R 19,200 ($1,445 – $2,886) 24.1%
  • R 19,212 – R 38,400 ($2,888 - $5,772) 22.0%
  • R 38,412 – R 76,800 ($5,774 - $11,543) 16.6%
  • R 76,812 – R 153,600 ($11,545 - $23,087) 8.6%
  • R 153,612 – R 307,200 ($23,089 - $46,174) 3.0%
  • R 307,212 – R 614,400 ($46,176 - $92,348) 0.9%
  • R 614,412 or more ($92,350+) 0.6%

Statistics South Africa Census 2001 (

External link

Template:KwaZulu-Natal Province

af:Durban ca:Durban cs:Durban de:Durban es:Durban id:Durban ja:ダーバン ms:Durban nl:Durban


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