• Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community
  • Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community

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Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community

Online since 24.01.2018 • Filed under Project • From Volume 6 - 2018
Umkhumbane Museum -celebrating life, growth and the transition of a community

Cato Manor in Durban holds national relevance as well as global significance as one of the world’s largest forced removal townships. Community uprisings, riots, subjugation and eventual emancipation form a major part of this site’s history. The heritage of the people who resisted oppression permeates through to the present as a triumphal spirit of freedom, providing the inspiration for Choromanski Architects, winners of the Africa Architecture Award Programme 2017 for the Umkhumbane Museum in Cato Manor.

 

This spirit was the inspiration for the development of the cultural programme which celebrates life, growth and the transition of a community just 7km west of Durban’s CBD. The architects proposed a system that would create public awareness, a network of cultural infrastructure, environmental regeneration and a public space in the city that will attract local and international visitors

 

The Africa Architecture Award Programme 2017, the first of its kind, is an international platform which globally exhibited the values and principles of projects within Africa. The programme complimented the complexity of the Choromanski Architects team process which shares in the many voices that support the community. It is an ongoing resilient and enduring project nurtured by the eThekwini Municipality, supported by the Durban Community and now leading Africa to proudly stand on the world’s cultural stage.

 

The eThekwini Municipality and the Cato Manor Development Association (CMDA) had earlier identified Cato Manor as an ideal location to develop the uMkhumbane Cultural Site to preserve the area’s rich political and environmental heritage, while supporting the evolving local urban culture. For many years this well located piece of land existed as a dump site, edged by the polluted uMkhumbane River, and at the confluence of two major transport arterials within the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System. The site is also situated on university land, which was donated to the project by the Department of Education and is in close to mixed cultural residential areas. It is also significant as it was chosen by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini for the re-internment of his mother, Queen Thomozile Jezangani Ka Ndwandwe Zulu.

 

The Queen lived in Mayville as a domestic worker in her later life and was recently found in a grave in Mayville. She became the muse for the museum and her contrasting life story is now honoured in traditional Zulu ceremony and contemporary architectural expression.

 

This is the first public cultural building for Cato Manor and the first new city museum in approximately 100 years which will support a broader urban plan. The project seeks to activate and network various cultural nodes within the Cato Manor community and the surrounding areas through community participation, local artists and leaders. It informs a process, nurturing creativity from past fractured identities which evolves from human scale to urban strategy. There is a master plan for the cultural site which guides the programme. During phase 1 Zulu Queen Thomozile Jezangani Ka Ndwandwe Zulu was re-interred in 2011 and the Gallery Tower of the uMkhumbane Museum was completed. Future Phases will encourage events and inform facilities as required by the community and the city, for instance:

 

• A cultural park and public square

• Dedicated space for community exhibitions

• Gathering areas for oral, performance, installation exhibits

• Social gathering areas for functions, eg. Book launches

• Concession areas

• Support to cultural nodes within the community and surroundings areas, nurturing an entrepreneur spirit of a local economy within the area

• Theatre as a multi-purpose space

• Children innovation and recreation facilities

• Facilities to support UKZN and community

 

As part of the master plan, the Gallery Tower and the Queen’s Memorial draw on Zulu emblems in contemporary architectural expressions, creating powerful spaces to elevate culture. The buildings in Phase 1 have been constructed from three primary materials familiar to the community and primarily sourced locally and constructed from skills within the community. These include concrete, brick and metal. Red clay face brick was chosen as the primary cladding material because it is indigenous to the alluvial plains of Durban. It is also low maintenance, labour intensive, certified for practical skills training on a landmark city project, buildable by local builders and symbolic of humble, robust perm

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