About 20 km South of Durban City Central, lies Isipingo, an Area blessed with a fascinating mix of Cultures and a unique History.
This vibrant Town is conveniently located near the Chief Albert Luthuli (M 4) highway and is surrounded by a number of factories that offer employment to the people of the Area.
Prospecton, the adjacent Industrial Area, is the location of South Africa’s largest automobile assembly plant, Toyota. Describing the Area’s way of life, Simo Maphumulo said: “As the youth, we feel that the nearby factories should look to us first as local people for employment”. Nevertheless, he enjoys living in the Area because of the diverse cultures. “We always come to the Lotus Park Car Wash to mix with other races and listen to music,” said Simo. He said the car wash is one of his hangout spots as it becomes vibey on Sundays with motorists coming to ‘Splish Splash’ their cars to get ready for the week ahead!
The Town is built on a high ridge of sand at the mouth of the Isipingo River and forms part of eThekwini Municipal Area. It is named after the River whose name is thought to be derived from the intertwined cat-thorn shrubs present in the Area, or the River’s winding course. The Town comprises of; Isipingo Rail, Lotus Park, Isipingo Hills, Orient Hills, Malukazi and Isipingo Beach. The Beach is one of the Area's major attractions. Maphumulo said the Area has fine beaches and is regularly frequented by fishermen, especially during the sardine run. “I occasionally go fishing with my friends at the Isipingo Beach River Mouth, but we have since stopped because we saw a snake and we were very frightened.”
Nkosinathi “Jesus” Ntuli, said Isipingo has most of the things one might need in a big town. “As you can see the Town is buzzing during the day. There’s so much activity here, with taxis going up and down taking people to and from the city,” said Ntuli. He said the town has a primary school, library and a number of big shops. The main road connects the town to the Chief Albert Luthuli highway which provides easy access to the City of Durban. “Can you believe that we also have taxis from Umlazi that come to offload people here as well as take them back. Not many townships have that kind of arrangement, where else can you catch a taxi from one township to another?” he asked.
Slindelo “Butterscotch” Mkhize who enjoys visiting shisanyama (braai meat) at The Plaza said, “I like to hang out with friends at shisanyama or at the nearby S&B(Spirit and Bubbles Restaurant), where they sell delicious traditional food,” said Mkhize. Mkhize also said he enjoys spending weekends at the Dakota Beach with his family or friends. “It’s ideal for family outings. There’s security at the gate as well as a takeaway restaurant and a nice view of a golf course just across the Dakota Beach,” he said. Mkhize said Isipingo was also home to one of eThekwini’s top schools, Isipingo Secondary. “The population in Isipingo is predominantly of Indian origin and all races get along very well." The old Durban International Airport was situated on the fringes of Isipingo Beach, but has since been relocated.
Isipingo is known as the Area where Dick King (1813-1871) was buried. He was an English Trader and Colonist in the Durban area, then known as Port Natal. He is best known for a historic horseback ride in 1842, when he completed a journey of 960 km in 10 days on a mission to request help for the besieged British garrison at Archie Gumede, Old Fort . Isipingo is close to many amenities and has a variety of services for all your needs, including a hospital, established schools, a police station, banks and shops. Anything you can't find locally can be sourced from the big new Shopping Centre at neighbouring Amanzimtoti.
Words by Mack Makhathini picture by Themba Khumalo
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