Kwa Muhle Museum

The KwaMuhle Museum is housed in the former premises of Durban’s Native Affairs Department which was charged with, among other functions, the control of the influx of Black migrants into the city. Migrants arriving in Durban had to report to the building where they waited in queues to see if they would be issued with passes to allow them to remain in town. The unsuccessful applicants would be forced to return to homes in the country or else risk staying in town illegally and living with the constant threat of arrest during a police raid.

 

The Durban System, as it was known, became the blueprint for apartheid in later years. The KwaMuhle Museum has many displays documenting the Durban System including a very illuminating one on just how the municipality managed to get the system to pay for itself through a municipal monopoly of brewing and selling sorghum beer. Another display concerns the Cato Manor riots which were largely the result of that monopoly.

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