Cato Manor
Close to the ground.

GPS: S 29 51.780 E 030 58.227 | pop. 150,000 | elevation 45 m/148 ft

The Cato Manor Township, located 8 km from Durban’s city center, began as a settlement for the area’s Indian population in the mid-1800s. In the early 1900s, blacks began to move into the area, renting plots from the Indians, despite the apartheid policy of racial segregation. The mix of Indians and blacks created a unique and vibrant community, but it wasn’t without its troubles. Disputes over high rent and poor living conditions led to interracial mob violence in 1949.

Continued disputes between the Durban municipality and residents of Cato Manor broke out over the enactment of the Durban System, which required blacks to have a permit to be in town, the Native Beer Act, which made it illegal for residents to brew their own beer and finally the Group Areas Act, which required blacks and colored people to move out of Cato Manor and into townships farther away from the city. A series of deadly riots occurred in 1959 and 1960 after Cato Manor was officially declared a white-only zone, and by 1964 the last of Cato Manor’s coloured residents had been forcibly removed.

Toward the end of apartheid, families began to move back into Cato Manor. The Cato Manor Development Association was formed and with the help of funding from the European Union, houses, schools, roads and clinics were built in what is now the largest inner city resettlement and development project in post-apartheid South Africa.

Hindu Temples

First River Temple

When Indian residents first settled in the Cato Manor area, a number of Hindu temples were built, some of which are still in use today. First River Temple is a practicing Hindu temple that happily welcomes visitors.


Hindi Temples

Second River Temple

Second River Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Africa and has a 135-year-old sculpture from India. Every March/April, the temple hosts the Fire Walking Festival, where devotees walk over hot coals. Visitors are welcome to participate in the fire walking ceremony provided they have fasted.


P.J. Restaurant

Located beside the tourist information office is P.J. Restaurant, which serves toasties and bunny chow. It also has a couple computers with Internet access.


Shebeens

Mazama Shack Shop

Mazama Shack Shop is the big blue shack slightly off the road in the shebeen area of the Cato Manor Township. Out-of-towners dropping by will surely turn heads in this local crowd. The beer is cheap and the music loud and it is a good township shebeen to rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy a few drinks. If you're going after dark, it is good idea to go with a local.


Kwamadu Shebeen

Kwamadu Shebeen is 25 meters farther into the township from the bright blue Mazama Shack Shop. Play a game of pool amid the blaring music or check out the karaoke and dancing in the back room.


Mazama Shack Shop

Mazama Shack Shop is the big blue shack slightly off the road in the shebeen area of the Cato Manor Township. Out-of-towners dropping by will surely turn heads in this local crowd. The beer is cheap and the music loud and it is a good township shebeen to rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy a few drinks. If you're going after dark, it is good idea to go with a local.


Kwamadu Shebeen

Kwamadu Shebeen is 25 meters farther into the township from the bright blue Mazama Shack Shop. Play a game of pool amid the blaring music or check out the karaoke and dancing in the back room.