Clermont under the apartheid days was a black middle income township. It is surrounded by Westvile, Kloof, New Germany and Inanda in the distant. Its main road is called Clermont road and is named after Sir Clermont, a farmer who sold his land. It was the only place in Durban where black people were able to buy property and build houses. Since the end of apartheid Clermont has been sprawling with shacks as people from the rural areas come and seek work opportunities in the nearby suburbs of Westville and New Germany, Pinetown and Durban. Clermnont has a large Anglican, Catholic and Wesleayan community and on Sundays one can see the women of each denomination wearing their church uniforms with pride. Today it is a well known for socializing and entertainment as lifestyle clubs and pubs are found in this historical township of Durban.
THE Clermont KwaDabeka Tourism Development was established in 2013 as a community tourism organisation by Durban Tourism and the KZN Department of Tourism.
The aim of the organisation was to give tourists a township experience and teach them about the history of Clermont and KwaDabeka - which goes back to 1848 when German settlers were brought to Natal by Jones Bergtheil, who bought a farm called Kranskloof.
In 1848 the 6 030-acre Clermont farm was granted to the Voortrekker Solomon Maritz by the English Colonial Government.
In 1849 Reverend Posselt established the mission station of Christiannenburg, named after his wife Christiaane. In 1867 a church was built at Christiannenburg followed by a school in 1876.
Between 1848 and 1876 the farms Kranskloof and Clermont were bought by Bergtheil.
In 1928 the Berlin Mission sold most of Christiannenburg and Clermont farm, except 50 acres which include the church, the manse and the school.
In 1931 the freehold African township of Clermont was founded as a private development.
In 1939 the Clermont Township Residents Committee was forced to raise revenue, regulate community services and provide transport. Then the Clermont suburbs were formed and divided into seven suburbs - Central, Fannin, Indunduma, Shembe, Umngeni, Christiannenburg and KwaDabeka.
Clermont Kwadabeka Tourism Development board member Sipho Cele said: “The centre encourages township tours after seeing that many tourists came to South Africa and left without seeing and experiencing the township life.
“This office was built in 2013 and it’s named changed from Isivivane Tourism to Clermont Kwadabeka Tourism Development, however, from 1998 we only had a forum and held meetings at a place called Uhuru.
“We offer various services including township tours. We formed a tourism business network in the townships, and created tourism awareness in the townships. We also encourage businesses in the townships to be properly registered so that all the businesses are up to standard when we take tourists around.
“We also visit local schools and conduct tourism awareness programmes as well teach them about what tourism is all about. We also do the campaigns in the community, businesses and churches.”
He advised people and students who are interested in tourism: “Tourism is an industry and it is the future. It can be so much fun and it really takes you to places. We welcome every community member to come and learn more about tourism.”