Durban has stood the test of time in terms of its beautiful landscape and rich heritage sites, its diverse people, each making their own history. The buildings tell a political, social and economic tale which has created valuable memories and lessons in history.
When the Indian settlers arrived in Durban, not all of them had the intention of being indentured labourers. Mr Gurusamy Veerasamy, known as G.V. Naidu, came to Durban as a businessman seeking better prospects. He built a beach house on the North Coast which has over the years being an eye catcher to the passing motorists. Today the building still stands, although run down, and has become a historical landmark in Durban and is known as the house that G.V. Naidu built.
Who was G.V. Naidu?
G.V. Naidu was a South Indian businessman who came to Durban in the 1920s and he was the first Indian to sail on the Queen Elizabeth II. He came to Durban as an industrialist to venture in the property, livestock and butchery fields. He stayed in Umgeni Road but built a beach house in the Casuarina Beach area, a few kilometres north of the uMdloti River. The first house to be built there was in 1926. Mr G.V. Naidu owned over 100 acres of land.
The house was surrounded by Casuarina trees, and built with wood as a single storey house at first, with a huge roof garden. It had 6 bedrooms, 2 lounges and 2 kitchens and 2 bathrooms. There was a pump for water and a power generator, which was across the M4 which was built later on. The house had lead stained glass windows. The doors of the house had pictures of ships, and the bathrooms was in the Victorian Style, a suggestion that Mr Naidu led a luxurious life, unlike his counterparts who came to Durban to work as indentured labourers.
The house was also the first house in that area to have an old wind-up telephone and lights. Mr Naidu held all his family gatherings at this location and also received many famous South Indian visitors through the years. There were also movie shoots at this location; the most famous of which was the Heart of the Matter, filmed in the 1980’s. The beach where the house was situated was known as the G.V.’s Channel.
Today the house stands vandalised and half broken down, but the remains still hold memories for G.V. Naidu’s family who do not want to sell the land, as it is valuable in terms of family history and memories.
Reference: The Independent on Saturday, 19 March 2011
Written by Yoveshine Pillay