December 4, 2017 - Choromanski Architects - uMkhumbane Museum
e-flux Architecture
December 4, 2017
December 4, 2017

Choromanski Architects

Courtesy Choromanski Architects.

uMkhumbane Museum

choromanski.com

uMkhumbane Museum

choromanski.com

Cato Manor in Durban holds national relevance as well as global significance, as one of the world’s largest forced removals Township. Similar mass removals took place in Cape Town’s District 6 from 1968 and Johannesburg’s Sophiatown, 1955 to1963. 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.

This spirit is an inspiration for the development of this Cultural Programme which celebrates life, growth and the transition of a community 7 kilometres west of Durban’s CBD. The uMhkumbane Museum is the first new city museum in Durban in approximately 100 years, and the first new public cultural building in Cato Manor. The eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development Unit, Parks Recreation and Culture and the then (CMDA), Cato Manor Development Association had earlier identified Cato Manor as an ideal location to develop this “uMkhumbane Cultural Place” in order to preserve the areas rich political and environmental heritage while supporting the evolving local urban culture.

The site is located at the confluence of two major transport arterials and crossed by the historical but polluted uMkhumbane River within the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (D’Moss) and in close proximity to mixed residential areas while on university land which was donated to the project.As part of a broader urban strategy, the site seeks to activate and network various cultural nodes within the community of Cato Manor and the surrounding areas, through community involvement, local artists and leaders.

A process of nurturing creativity from past fractured identities, evolving from human scale to urban strategy The Internment of a Zulu Queen in 2011 marked an event where the uMkhumbane Cultural Place honoured its first leader, namely Queen Thomozile Jezangani Kandwandwe Zulu, Mother to King Goodwill Zwelithini.

As the architects, we embraced the Zulu Queen as the muse to the current phase of the project.

–Choromanski Architects

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