No Longer at This Address – From Commercial Road to Dr AB Xuma Street

Commercial Road shares its name with streets all over the English-speaking world. The first Commercial Road was probably in London, where it was built by the Commercial Road Company. Similarly named Roads are generally named for the economic activity to which they played host when they were built. Today Commercial Road is mostly home to fabric shops and forms the Southern boundary of Durban’s Indian Quarter.

Alfred Bitini Xuma was born in 1893 into an aristocratic Xhosa family in the Transkei. From this rural beginning, he rose to the position of President of the ANC. He qualified as a medical doctor, earning a PhD from the London School of tropical medicine. His opposition to the removal of black people from the Cape franchise led to his election as head of the ANC in 1940. He died at Baragwanath Hospital in 1962.

Text and images formed part of the “No Longer at This Address” exhibition by Peter Machen

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