|Last stop “Little Gujarat”: Tracking South African Indian Writers on the Grey Street Writers’ Trail in Durban|
|Written by Lindy Stiebel|
|Thursday, 02 June 2011 10:00|
Grey Street in Durban is tied to the history of the Indian population in South Africa and their construction of a ‘home away from home’. Recently renamed Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street after the prominent anti-apartheid activist, “Grey Street” as it is still known by the locals, is where Indian immigrants to Natal inevitably made their way from the late nineteenth century onwards. Inevitably, too, South African Indian writers descended from these first immigrants have written about the Grey Street area in their works, describing the close community ties that developed amid the Indian-styled buildings their forefathers erected. Writers such as Dr Goonam (Coolie Doctor), Phyllis Naidoo (Footprints in Grey Street), Aziz Hassim (The Lotus People), and Imraan Coovadia (The Wedding ) have reconstructed a complex and contradictory past era – nostalgic, passing, difficult – centred in Grey Street’s busy streets, alleys and markets. Post apartheid this area is not as homogeneous as it once was, but survives as the old business and residential centre for the Indian community in Durban, and indisputably as its cultural heart.