February 9, 2013

Socio-Political Evolution of Inanda

During historic times in the 1830’s the Qadi clan lived under King Shaka in the Thukela valley. However they moved to Inanda during the reign of King Dingaan because the king was apparently suspicious of their loyalty.
In Inanda under Mqhawe they later granted land to the Christians of the American Board so that schools would be built, access to farming equipment could be made available, and to assistance when dealing with the colonial authorities could be offered. A close relationship remained with James Dube, the uncle of the chief becoming a devout Christian and one of the first black pastors. His son John Dube was born on the Inanda Mission.
These were the beginnings of the so-called Amakholwe (‘Believers’), Christianised Africans who initially came together around mission stations to practice their new beliefs which isolated them from their former social groupings. They were generally better educated and exposed to external ideas and opportunities which in the case of John Dube subsequently made an enormous social impact on Inanda. John Dube travelled to the USA to continue his education for the priesthood where he met the influential Booker T Washington and returned to Inanda to establish the Ohlange Institute. He also founded Ilange lase Natal, the first Black newspaper in South Africa, and later was elected the first President of the ANC in 1912.
Inanda continued as a series of communities, including Indian farmers and traders until the mid 1970’s when the grip of Apartheid started to loosen and Africans, started to flock into towns in search of opportunities. Shack farming became a profitable sideline since Inanda was on the immediate border of Durban.
The situation came to a head in September 1985. Indian shops were razed and the Indian residents fled. Sarvodaya at Phoenix Settlement was torn to the ground and the Kasturba Gandhi Primary School pulled apart for building materials to construct mjondolas. Shacks were built everywhere to gain a foothold.
During the lead-up to the first democratic elections, Inanda and especially Bhambayi (Phoenix Settlement) was wracked by internecine conflict.
The healing process has been drawn out and painful. It has involved negotiations and huge expenditure by the eThekwini Municipality to start normalising the process. There are still scars evident, and the area is still relatively marginalised and in need of massive attention. One of the intentions of this project is to address this. This exceptionally rich, recent cultural evolution has given rise to numerous very influential personalities on the cultural landscape, rightfully earning Inanda the reputation as the Cradle of Democracy.