Situated about five kilometres from the centre of Durban, Cato Manor is an area rich in cultural and political heritage. It was named after Durban’s first mayor, George Christopher Cato. Cato Manor’s first residents, the Indian market gardeners, to whom Cato sold the land, later leased plots to African families prohibited from owning land themselves.
The vibrant, Afro-Indian culture that came into being from this shared space became a trademark of the area. Its Zulu residents knew the warren of shacks, shebeens and shops that grew into Cato Manor as Umkhumbane – named after the stream on whose banks the shantytown sat. Cato Manor survived and thrived for many years as a rough-hewn community in direct contradiction to the Apartheid government’s policy of racial segregation.