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10 facts about Durban

1 August 2006

Durban Golden Mile*
Durban's*

1. Durban, known as eThekwini to Zulu speakers, is the largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, with a population of over three million.

2. The port of Durban is the busiest in Africa, and one of the 10 largest in the world. It acts as a major gateway, not only to South Africa but to neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.

3. Durban is a year-round popular tourist destination, thanks to its pleasant climate (with an average maximum temperature of 23c in August) as well as its “Golden Mile” seafront.

4. Almost 20 per cent of local people are of Indian descent. Their ancestors were indentured labourers, who were shipped in to tend the sugar plantations established by British settlers in the 19th century.

5. The spiritual and political leader Mahatma Ghandi is the most famous Indian to have lived in Durban, during the early 1900s. Here his experience of the oppression of Indian people inspired him to dedicate the rest of his life to peaceful resistance against injustice, and to the campaign for “home rule” in India.

6. At the same time, Durban has been called “the most African city in South Africa”. Zulu is the predominant language spoken at home, by around 63 per cent of people, while English is spoken at home by almost 30 per cent.

7. The most significant labour struggle in Durban’s history was an intense wave of wage strikes in late 1972 and 1973. It started with 4,000 dock workers walking out, followed by textile and municipal workers, and then thousands of others.

8. The city once supported a thriving whaling industry, which ended in 1975 – to the relief of those residents whose lives were blighted by bad smells wafting from the whaling stations.

9. Attractions for those delegates with free time include: the Botanical Gardens, the Indian Market, the Snake Park, Umgeni River Bird Park, and the Killie Campbell Africana Museum.

10. You can visit the Durban Tourist Board at 160 Pine Street, tel: 031-304 4934.

More information for visitors to Durban is available at the ITF Congress website at www.itfglobal.org/durban.cfm




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