17 June 1959
In terms of the notorious Group Areas Act (1950), the following proclamation was made in June 1958: 'In Cato Manor, Natal; 25,798 Indians, 2,107 Coloureds and 28,298 Africans would be shifted. Indians will lose 2,891 acres of land and 2,444 dwellings valued at £1,685,350. Coloureds and Africans will lose over 70 acres of land and 133 dwellings valued at £25,940'. This forced removal sparked the Cato Manor riots of June 1959, and six months later, the massacre of nine policemen. However, there was another reason for tension in the area that resulted in the 1959 Cato Manor riots- the question of who had the right to brew and sell the low-alcohol sorghum beer, or utshwala. The riots in Cato Manor began on 17 June 1959, when a demonstration of African women forced their way into a beer hall, destroying beer and drinking utensils and beating men who were drinking there. The women were lead by Florence Mkhize and Dorothy Nyembe, and were dispersed by the police. To read more about the 17 June riots and the events that followed please visit our 'Cato Manor history feature'. *Please note that some sources claim that the riots began on the 16 or on the 18 June 1959.