it emerged that Durban now has its own theme song which is
called Mdubane and was written in Zulu by Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic
Orchestra Conductor Phelelani Mnomiya. It was first performed
on 24 September by the Durban Serenade Choral Society, the
Durban Symphonic Choir and the Chesterville Choral backed
by the KZNPO.
Mercury on 23 September provided the following English translation:
[isiZulu for Durban*]
gaze at the sunrise from the East
As it shines the lustrous ocean's waves
huge and aged home
This kraal of variety
Clean Durban. Beautiful Durban!
A sweet breeze blows
Birds sing above the trees
Beautiful Durban! Clean Durban.
the Wheel** to the Workshop**
I met Ngobese and Koekemoer at the Pavilion**
And at Gateway** was Govender and Smith
Oh Beautiful Durban!
There they are, going this way and that way
Signalling up and down
the buzz of the wagons
Taking commuters from place to place
Oh what a beautiful Durban!
When the sun sets
They head home, back to their homesteads
The sun rests to the West
Between the clouds and mountains
Beautiful Durban! You're still beautiful!
for songbirds and a kraal for song
I will not leave you
Oh Beautiful Durban!
speak a fair bit of Zulu but I don't remember ever hearing
the word Mdubane used. I'll have to investigate further
**Some Durban shopping malls.
quarrel with the sentiments expressed and I look forward to
hearing the song. I'll see if I can get a recording of it
for you to download.
today is parking meters which, I admit, is quite a jump from
the matters choral which we discussed yesterday. Parking meters
were introduced in Durban from 8am on 14 October 1957. The
meters were Venner MkI Park-O-Matics and were placed in West
Street between Broad Street and Aliwal Street. Motorists had
to pay threepence to park for 15 minutes and sixpence for
Municipality's Kevan Mardon
with one of the original parking meters.
Daily News reported later that day that things had started
pretty quietly in West Street with many empty parking
spots but that they had soon filled-up with the arrival
reporter said that motorists had been caught on the
hop by the meters and had to dash, swearing, into nearby
shops to get change. Only the arrival of a man from
Mars could have caused more excitement, said the reporter,
as groups of 15-20 people gathered round City Policemen
who were explaining how the meters worked. One 'kindly
old gentleman' outside a tearoom cinema [the Roxy or
the Capri perhaps] spent more than six shillings showing
passersby how the meters worked.
fines were £1 for staying longer than 30 minutes
and £2 for not putting money in the meter at all.
Motorists would be charged £2 for sticking notices
onto or writing on meters and £5 for tampering
with a meter or attempting to insert an incorrect coin.
reports at the time show that the majority of motorists were
in favour of parking meters but many people did complain that
half an hour was not long enough to do their business.
packet of stuff handed to me by Kevan were a couple of extracts
from the annual reports made by the City Police to the City
Council which raise a number of other trafic-related points:
the report for the year 1955/56 the Chief Constable said
that it was hoped to begin phasing out the traffic signals
[robots] located in the middle of intersections in favour
of ones at the sides of the streets. It was also hoped,
he said, to fit two-way radios to six City Police patrol
cars and six motorcycles to enable communication between
them and the Police Station. There were 116 fatalities on
the road in Durban during the year.
1957/58 report said that the radio equipment had been fitted
to 6 cars and 4 motorcycles. It was also intended to mount
four 'Native Constables' on bicycles to take action against
cyclists flouting the law.
1958/59 report states that the conversion to traffic signals
at the sides of the roads was complete, During the period
15 people were killed after 'rushing blindly into the road'
and 7 were injured playing games in the street.
last diary page I told
of HMS Cornwall which was a fequent visitor to Durban in the
early years of WWII. I have now recieved two new pictures
of her which may be of interest.
courtesy Reg Monckton
Click the images to view enlargements. The one of the
side view is wallpaper sized (1024x768px).
are undated but were taken sometime just before WWII. The
large rectangular box visible on her deck in the side view
was the hangar used to house her two seaplanes. The oval shapes
mounted on the side of the hangar are the liferafts which
were to be the salvation of many of Cornwall's crew.
a long time since my last entry in the diary but thats due
to lack of time and not material. I have also had to order
a new batch of Facts About Durban from the printers and I
took the opporunity to produce Edition 1.1 in which some typing
errors and inaccuracies have been corrected.
by the Natal Mercury last week that Durban has now been twinned
with Bremen in Germany and that a statement of intent has
been signed with Nantes in France. In Facts About Durban I
of Durbans earliest twinning agreements was with
Eilat in Israel. We are also twinned with four ports around
the world including Chicago in the USA, Guangzhou in China,
Leeds in the UK and Rotterdam in Holland. These cities
are also among the most important industrial powerhouses
in their respective countries and all are important hubs
for the movement of goods and people. Durban has lately
concluded twinning agreements with Bulawayo in Zimbabwe,
Oran in Algeria and Alexandria in Egypt. In early 2003
it was expected that an existing unofficial twinning with
Bremen in Germany would be formalised and that agreements
with the City of Nantes in France and a number of other
cities in the southern hemisphere would be pursued.
agreements were signed during the recent Celebrate Durban
Week as was a Memorandum of Understanding between eThekweni
Municipality and the Port of Durban. The agreement was signed
on 26 September 2003 and I know that it sounds a bit strange
at first. The thing is that the port is not controlled by
the municipality and it is probably just as well to remind
the port authorities occasionally how important it is to Durban.
of the locomotive Natal which ran in Durban on the first railway
line in South Africa have arrived from Transnet Foundation
Trust. I've put them up on the Natal's
to have been offline for so long but I was involved in helping
out with a conference at the ICC and needed time to recover
after that. I've been trying to track down the first computer
in Durban and this is what I've found so far...
Municipality Information Analyst John Mayor recently answered
an appeal in my regular computing column in the Sunday Tribune
for information about the first computer in Durban.
He told me that Durban Borough Treasurer's Department ran
Hollerith Electro-mechanical Plugboard Tabulators from the
early 1930's to generate telephone accounts and to keep
a track of payments to the department. These devices were
able to read data off of punch cards and print out invoices.
John, who encountered similar machines in the early stages
of his career, told me that his abiding memory of them is
the smell of the vegetable oil used to lubricate the moving
parts and which gave off a pleasant aroma reminiscent of
frying chips as it heated up.
I personally believe that tabulators can be classified as
computers and I think it is reasonable bet that the ones
owned by the council were the first computers in Durban.
(This was later proved incorrect.
See Diary Page # 8
for Details- Allan.) Tabulators served the municipality
until 1960 when an HEC (Hollerith Electronic Computer) 1202
was installed. It was the third electronic computer installed
in South Africa with the first being at Old Mutual and the
second at OK Bazaars.
This machine was replaced in the mid-1960s by an ICL 1301
at the behest of City Treasurer Ossie Gorven. It was replaced
in turn in the late 1960s by an ICL 1904 mainframe which
worked off transistors and had a whole 32Kb of memory to
play with. It was equipped with paper tape readers, punch
card readers, tape decks and exchangeable hard disks with
a capacity of 8Mb each.
courtesy John Mayor
operator at the controls of Durban's ICL 1301 computer.
machine was used until 1984 when it was replaced by an ICL
2948 which ran on silicon chips but it didn't function under
testing as advertised and was replaced free of charge by
the manufacturer with their 2952 model. The City Treasurer
now has an IBM System 390 and two IBM AS400 machines which,
incredibly enough, still run some of the programs first
written for the ICL 1904 in the Sixties.
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