Durban sits on the east coast of the Republic of South Africa, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. English is the dominating language in the province but many people here speak Zulu. A promenade that runs from uShaka Marine World, an enormous theme park with an impressive aquarium, to the futuristic Moses Mabhida Stadium, one of the host stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has the reputation as Durban’s beauty mark and is the most photographed place in the city. In 2015, Durban has been named one of the world’s seven miracle cities by the prestigious New7Wonders foundation.
Durban was home to figures such as Albert John Luthuli (the first African winner of the Nobel Prize for peace), Alan Paton, Bessie Head, Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. Despite colonialism and apartheid, the city was built on the pillars of learning and literature. It is home to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, one of the country’s top-ranked schools and one of a few that offers a PhD in creative writing. Located here are also Durban University of Technology and Mangosuthu University of Technology, which have made vast contributions to the development of the creative industries in the city.
The Centre for Creative Arts has been founded at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in partnership with the city authorities to host four major cultural highpoints on Durban’s calendar: JOMBA!, a dance festival; Poetry Africa, the Durban International Film Festival and the Time of the Writer Literary Festival. The latter merits special attention for its scale and impact. It was the brainchild of celebrated African-French poet Breyten Breytenbach. In its 20-year history it has hosted writers from virtually every African country and over 70 countries from all over the world. Its guests have been the likes of Arundathi Roy, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thionga, Nadine Gordimer, John Pilger, Abdelkader Benali, Mahmood Mamdani, Nurrudin Farah and Chimamanda Adichie.
A range of other events are held in Durban, notably ARTiculate Africa, a literary and art festival with the accompanying Durban Book Fair; Women’s Day Art Festival; Children’s Literary Festivals; SA Writers Circle; Dancing Pencils and SANKOFA.