Alfred Nokwe – kwaMashu Heroes and Heroines

Alfred Nokwe grew up in Cato Manor and worked as a clerk in Native Affairs Administration. During the demolition of Cato Manor he was relocated to kwaMashu. His first professional acting production was in 1960, in a cameo role in Alan Paton’s Mkhumbane directed by Malcolm Woolfson, a play that coincided with the riots in Durban.

Alfred lived in Umkhumbane and in February 2001, the Izwi Cato Manor Community Newspaper featured an article written by him on his experiences in Umkhumbane:

“That is what it (Umkhumbane) was called, named after the river that went through from Bellair meandering past Cabazini then Draaihoek, bypassing Ezimbuzini and forking out to Mgenge and Nettleton Road bordering Chesterville. The Municipality had built an aquaduct at the bottom of Nettleton Road and this was a favourite ‘skiing resort’ for the children of Umkhumbane. You see, the little channel was all slimy and slippery because of the lichens and mosses. That is where you would see naked little black bums sliding up and down the ntshununu. Umkhumbane was sublet to Asiatics at the turn of the century by Whites who had been given the land by George Cato. The Asiatics cultivated and ploughed the land supplying the so called English Market with fresh vegetables. They never looked back!”

Nokwe featured in many TV dramas as an actor and later as a director/producer. He also worked as a local historian and assisted destitute children in kwaMashu. Nokwe died in 2008.

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