I had an e-mail recently from Paula Santa-Rita who had a few questions and some memories.

I lived in Durban between January 1966 to 1969 at Walsingham’s Catholic Girl’s Hostel in Berea just off Berea Road, if I remember it right?

I used to go to school in either West Street or Grey Street but I think it was West Street. The school prepared students for Matric. It was a small private school owned by an Irish man who was also the headmaster, called Mr. O’ Madigan. A Mrs. Smith was our French teacher. The school was called “Progressive School” and it occupied one or two floors in an office building on the right side of the street if you were facing the sea. Where can I find information about this school?

Walsingham was run by Dominican nuns most of them German, I think this is no longer the case? Somewhere near Walsingham perhaps in the street parallel to it there used to be the LA (Los Angeles) Hotel where sometimes we’d go to listen to jazz I think they had lunch time jazz on weekends? The LA Hotel no longer exists I suppose? Anyone has photos of it?

Also not far from Walsingham there used to be a cafe in the style of the Troubadour Cafe in London were two young male folk singers used to sing American folk songs. They were very much like an imitation of Peter and Gordon. Does anyone remember the name of this duo of folksingers and the name of the cafe? I think we used to go there sometimes on Friday or Saturday nights.

At the time a singer called Mercia Love was a great success. I used to know Mercia personally and have photos of her on holidays in LM Mozambique. Does anyone know what became of her? Another singer of those days was Des Lindberg. If I’m not mistaken Peter, Paul and Mary went to South Africa and performed in Durban does anyone remember this?

Also there used to be a Gay Club called The MATELOT does anyone remember this at all? There were drag shows on some evenings, some evenings were mixed men and women and I think other evenings were women only or men only? I have googled “Matelot in Durban in the sixties” over a hundred times in all sorts of variations including simply The Matelot, Durban, and cannot find one single reference to it. As if it never existed. Can anyone help? I’d be really thankful.

There were natural parks up the coast i think towards the north with lots of trees and maybe waterfalls or small rivers where we sometimes went for picnics on weekends – where could that have been?

And out of town along the south coast there were hotels or at least one or two very popular hotels that served cocktails, along the coast by the sea where could that have been? I looked older than I was and my friends were all two or three years older than me so I was never asked my age whenever I ordered a cocktail drink in one of those hotels!

I’d be thankful for any information on any of the above.
Best wishes,
PMP Santa-Rita

I mailed Paula back to explain that I had met Mercia Love shortly before I left Durban and she replied with:

Hi Allan,
Thanks so much for your kind and quick reply. What an exciting coincidence that you know Merica Love! Every now and then during the last 45 years (!) I have wondered about what could have happened to her!

I am trying to scan some photos I took of Mercia and some friends when she was in LM for holidays in 1970 I think, though it might have been early 71?. She and her friends stayed at the downtown Hotel Tivoli and I drove them around to Costa do Sol one day by ferry across the bay to Catembe another day, we spent quite a lot of time together in LM. In these pictures you can also see my friend from Mozambique Sonia Lavinas who after spending many years in Brazil is now living in Lisbon Portugal and I saw her recently after many years. I have two of Mercia’s LPs as I have somehow managed to keep many of my vinyl records along the years.

You know it is strange how little information is available online regarding so many aspects of South African life in those years between WWII and the end of Apartheid. That is why sites like yours are so important. For example I do not understand why there is nothing online about the Dominican nuns who managed Walsingham in the late sixties? Whatever become of them? Who took over? Even Catholic sites offer no information on this!

And as I mentioned in my previous email it seems to me incredible that given South Africa’s high profile gay life that there’s nothing online about historical gay places from the sixites. The Matelot for a while was, if not the only gay club in Durba,n certainly the best known. I think it was near the harbour somewhere? Then a second more “sophisticated” club opened but I don’t remember its name nor its location.
I stayed for a few weeks in the Plaza Hotel downtown in early 1966 while I waited for a room at Walsingham’s. Now I look at photos of the Plaza on the Internet and cannot recognize it at all. It seems to be in the same place but has the façade changed so much or is my memory of it totally wrong? I cannot find pictures of the Plaza from 1966.

I also stayed for a few days with my father in January 1966 in a hotel near the beach front I think it was behind north beach on a street parallel to the beach marine drive. Behind it somewhere there was a biscuit factory and so there were times in the hotel and the street that the smell from the factory was so strong it felt we were inside a cake bakery! I have looked on Google satellite images but it seems to me that the whole area is now car sales warehouses???

I also used to go to a gigantic Indian market in the then Hindu area of Durban and there used to be a small restaurant there where whites could go to in spite of Apartheid rules.  I remember being told at the time that it was the only restaurant in the whole of Durban where Apartheid rules did not apply: again I’ve tried to find information about this online but found nothing!

And how can one find a list of bookshops from the sixties in West Street and /or Smith Street ? Are there no records of any of this? It is surprisingly much easier to find photos, memoirs, blogs, public records of building or deeds, etc about LM/Maputo-Mozambique than about Durban!

Anyway let me not go on and on! In short: your site is a must go on!

Added: 05/08/2019 This is pretty belated but here’s the picture that Paula sent in all those years ago. You can get see more about Mercia on our page celebrating the singers of that era.

Mercia Love on holiday in Mozambique in 1970 or 1971. The pictures were taken by Paula-Santa-Rita and also show Sonia Lavinas. Picture courtesy Paula-Santa-Rita.
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41 Responses

  1. Bryan
    | Reply

    That would be Baumans biscuits Paula is talking about,the indian restaurant was The ………….Lounge the middle name escapes me for now, they were on the first floor, and sold sweet meats downstairs.

    • Allan Hannah

      Hi Brian

      The Lounge you refer to could have been The Victory Lounge or The Goodwill Lounge?? Do either ring a bell!
      One of them, or both, made an unbelievable mutton bunny!!

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      Thanks for the help, yes it was probably Baumans the factory behind the hotel.

      As for the Indian restaurant that “escaped” apartheid rules I wish there was a photo of it somewhere? Does it ever get mentioned anywhere?

      Thanks again, regards,

    • Shel Livingstone

      That would have been the Goodwill Lounge which was owned by Pumpy Naidu. He was quite a man! All the good musicians, jazz and classical, would end up there. He was a great friend of my parents – my Dad was a jazz pianist and we spent many times there. He died young in the sixties of brain cancer. I left for then Rhodesia and Zambia and then the States. Guess the Goodwill closed. FYI we were white. Perhaps the police ignored the multi racial because of his status in the community and friendship with many police!!

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Paula,
    Seems you are reminiscing of your years in Durban a long time ago. 1966 to 1969 I reckon were in the period of Durban’s heydays but that is my opinion. I did a bit of research for you in the Durban Directory 1968 I have and came up with precious little. Walsingham I remember well as I had a friend who had a contact there. The establishment was at 31 Currie Road on the Berea and I recall visitors were not able to enter beyond the front door especially young guys trying to get blind dates. A contact on the inside was the key. The establishment was for young women not school goers as I recall and the nuns were not associated with the Dominicans who were based at Oakford Priory if I recall correctly.
    Regarding your school in Durban. Here I have drawn a blank. The directory gives no listing for “Progressive School” at all. In the front of the directory all the State schools are listed and then separately all the private schools, tutorial colleges, academies etc but no Progressive School. I then looked for Mr O Madigan in the Durban Alphabetical and he is not there either. This is not to say he was not resident in Durban as I think the list was based on everyone who had an electricity account. So no help on that score.
    The Los Angeles Hotel in St. Thomas Road was completely demolished and is now an old age centre called Garden Grove. Upmarket and well known. I think all the wonderful old trees that used to be in the LA’s beer garden were all uprooted. A long time band that played there was John Drake’s Trio and I am sure Mercia Love belted out some tunes with them. The Gongs Hockey Club used the LA as a base seeing we had no clubhouse.
    The Tiles was a coffee bar in the centre of town that had young artists play and sing there but this was some distance from Walsingham.
    I have vague recollections of the Matelot and wonder if it was not the name of the “Gay Club” that was sort of established at the Esplanade Hotel on the Victoria Embankment. In those days the gay community were not as accepted as they are today but I do recall the Esplanade Hotel was a gathering point.
    The Plaza Hotel has changed dramatically from what it looked like in the mid 60s. It is a very old establisment on the corner of Broad and St Andrew’s Street. In the 60s it was a very popular wedding reception venue. As I remember it it had a red brick facade in those days.
    Regarding the parks and resorts northwards. That is difficult to be definitive on but Umdloti Beach, Shaka’s Rock and Salt Rock were all very popular. Of course in the 60s these places were rather primitive and Umdloti has changed beyonf=d recognition. Our favourite was a place called Thompson’s Bay which had a tidal pool and a lovely stretch of beach. There was an arched walkway cut into the rock nearby . It was privately owned and one had to pay for the day’s entry. I understand that it is now fully redeveloped as an upmarket beach complex called Santorino. Like wise the South Coast was popular with the Lido Hotel at Umkomaas and the Hotel La Crete I think at Uvongo. Margate of course was very popular in those days with the annual invasion of Transvalers and Free Staters especially in December. Talking waterfalls are you not thinking of the Howick Falls which was a nice day drive inland where one could picnic?
    Coming to your bakery. That would have been Bakers (it’s original name was Baumanns but the owner changed it to Bakers. Do a search for Bakers on this site for the story.) Bakers stood on a large tract of land that stretched from West Street to Palmer Street fronting on Brickhill Road. That too has disappeared and redeveloped one large portion becoming the Beach Mall.
    I agree with Allan, the Goodwill Lounge did allow mixed races although it was done without drawing attention. As I recall the lounge was upstairs and situated in Victoria Street. Victory Lounge was a street level eating house with less of an aura than the Goodwill. I recall in their shop front window being pyramids of red coloured doughnuts sprinkled lavishly with coconut flakes as well as other items called sweetmeats. Victory Lounge was at 187 Grey Street. One thing that I remember was that the Victory Lounge had a neon sign in the shop front window which was rather encrusted with sweetmeat syrup. You can well imagine who enjoyed that!!
    Finally coming to bookshops of the 60s. Well foremost must be Adams which is still in existence in the same shop owned by the same family. The present owner is I think the grandson of the original and his name is Peter Adams. Then in West Street as well was T.W. Griggs which was a very narrow book shop with a mezzanine floor. I recall there was a lift that could only take 2 people. That shop is still in existence but is now a Clicks Store ( similar to a Booths in London.) Further down West Street virtually opposite Adams was the Central News Agency and also the Aloe Bookshop. In Gardiner Street though not a bookshop was Tennison Burrows were you bought your overseas magazines, English children’s comics like Roy of the Rovers, Girl, Beeno etc as well as English newspapers. These were delivered very month via the mail ships that called in regularly. Up West Street was the London Bookshop which was an old dusty bookshop with many second hand books. I think these were the main ones that existed then.
    Well that about covers some of your queries. On this site are many references that tend to get hidden in the texts so try a Search to locate the mass of information here.
    I assume you no longer live in South Africa. Regards.

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      Hello Gerald,

      First of all thank you so much for taking the time to write at length about the Durban I have been trying to remember and for going through the trouble of trying to find Progressive School (or could it have been Progressive College?). It was a very small private school that prepared students for standard VIII and Matric. As I said it was owned and run by an Irishman called Mr. O’Madigan who besides being the principal was also the English teacher. He must have been about 45 or 50 at the time so he has probably died now. The school occupied one or two floors of an office building, maybe only one floor with about 5-6 rooms?
      Anyway once again thanks for your effort. As for the Walsingham’s girls hostel yes it was exactly where you said at 31 Currie Road in Berea. I lived there for about 2 years before moving to a flat with a friend. I was the youngest at Walsingham being only 16 when I arrived. Most girls or young women were secretaries or admin assistants or University students so they were all older than me the younger ones were 18 and the most were aged between 18-24.
      The nuns were mostly from Germany and many very young too and were students being trained for mission schools. In that year of 1966 Verwoerd declared that “Catholics were more dangerous than communists because you could not put them in jail” and started to close down or at least stop the growth of more Catholic mission schools for black children. That headline came in one of the important SA (or Durban?)daily papers in the first half of 1966 and I just wish I had kept it. There were several Dominican congregations in SA at the time and there were three in Durban as far as I know:
      Dominican Sisters of Oakford
      Dominican Sisters of Montbello
      Dominican Sisters of Newcastle (Our Lady of Fatima Convent)
      I am almost 100% sure that the sisters at Walsingham were the Montbello Sisters. I have now found an email address for these sisters and am awaiting a reply to my email asking them if they were indeed the congregation that run Walsingham back then.
      Visitors could walk in through the front door and at the end of the entrance corridor there was a counter with a microphone they used to call down whomever they were going to see. We were allowed out every evening until 11pm and on Fridays and Saturdays until mid-night. There was a logbook by the microphone were we wrote our names and time of exit and then signed in again on our return. we could also go away for weekends but we had to tell the sisters about it. Many women there were not Catholics and I made friends with Jews and Methodists. There was a priest with a French family name that used to come and play piano in the common room next to the dining room upstairs on the first floor. Then the young nuns who were all very carefree and happy would dance along with some of us in these “musical afternoons”.
      How sad that the trees were all uprooted from the LA hotel they were beautiful I still remember them. I had two friends from Mozambique who were students at the University and while looking for an apartment they, just like I stayed at the Plaza, stayed for a few weeks at the LA.
      I had surgery during my first months in Durban and I think that it was done at the St. Augustine hospital in Berea. I seem to recognize the hospital from website photos and besides I cannot find another large hospital near Waslingham’s that was there in the sixties? My friends from Walsingham came to visit me and they gave me a 45″ record of “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel I was very touched by this and still have the record.
      I went to the Matelot gay club a few times. I think you are right and it might have been a bar at the Esplanade Hotel in the Victoria Embankment – does this hotel still exist? Then later in 1968 another gay club much more sophisticated and exclusive opened in a different part of town I cant remember where. All I remember is that this new club had glass doors that were mirrors on the outer side and transparent glass on the inside so people at the club could see who was coming in case there was a police raid! I’m almost certain that the entrance was on a first floor not street level like the Matelot or at least one did have to climb up some stairs to get to the club’s entrance.
      Thanks also for reminding me about the Plaza Hotel’s red brick façade.

      On June 7th Robert F. Kennedy spoke at the University and event organized by the students’ union and one of my friends form Mozambique who was a student at the University gave me his invitation – I still have the invitation (one of the best surprise presents in my life) and can post it here if I can find out how to go about it.
      Was Victoria Street in the Hindu part of the city? Because unless my memory fails me I think the multi-racial (yes as you say very discreet) Indian restaurant I went to was in the Indian market part of town?
      And it was great to read all about the bookshops thank you!
      I am sure that I used to go to the Adams bookstore. There was a very nice grey haired Jewish lady working there and we often talked, she was quite impressed by someone as young as I was being so interested in all sorts of books about history, philosophy, politics, etc. She had a son that served both in the Israeli army and the SA army and even went as part of the SA army into an incursion in northern Mozambique when the SA military “unofficially” helped the Portuguese army against the rebels by doing these short covert raids. We discussed all this and shared many other conversations and once she was kind enough to give me a publisher’s poster which was a photo of Bertrand Russell advertising one of his books in the shop window.
      The public library was in City Hall right? I went there a lot too. And there was a Mr. Silva a Portuguese immigrant working at the first Wimpy’s that opened in a modern building not far from Progressive School. Mr. Silva was very proud about the fact that he had to teach customers to use their hands to eat hamburgers not a knife and fork: at the time apparently many people tried to eat hamburgers with knife and fork!
      Well one can go on and on!
      Thank you once again for taking your time to clarify some of my shady memories.
      Oh yes, by the way, I no longer live in Africa. Since 2008 I have been living in northern Portugal ( or - but as may well know Africa never leaves you…

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      Corrections: logbook where not “were”

      and the most should be most of the girls were aged between 18-24

      “shady” memories should be “unreliable” memory I do not think I have any real “shady memories”!!!

      I am compulsive about corrections!

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Paula
      Just a couple of comments on the post above. Yes the library was in the City Hall at the back end of it facing Smith Street. The movie houses (cinemas) were opposite. The library was split. As you entered left was the Reference Library and right was the Lending Library. A flight of stairs ahead took you to the Museum and Art Gallery. In the foyer used to be a model of a Union Castle Ship which I think was the Armadale Castle, the first ocean liner to enter Durban Harbour. There was also an information kiosk on the ground floor. I have not been able to find any thing more on Progressive School. Regarding the Dominican nuns. My early education was at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Potchefstroom. The Dominican nuns there, also mainly Germans, were from the Kingwilliamstown congregation. I have an idea they were the most prolific of the Dominicans in South Africa at the time. Regarding the Wimpy. I recall going there in the very early 70s possibly when the first venue opened. I recall it being in Murchie’s Passage in the CBD. If my memory serves me right, you stepped down off the passage to the Wimpy which was below passage level if you get my drift. At the same time another similar venue had just opened in Durban called the Golden Egg. This was situated in 330 West Street, the big new building in West Street at that time. Another branch of the Golden Egg was opened in Hill Street Pinetown.
      You mention the Hindu part of town. Technically speaking it was commonly known as the Indian part of town. Victoria Street was in it with Grey Street probably the most well known.

    • Lynda Good

      Hi Paula,
      I also lived at Walsingham from August 69 to June 70. Your post brought back a flood of great memories and good friends. I’ve also looked for Walsingham, (hardly recognisable from the street view on Google map) and tried to research what happened to the nuns, with no luck.

    • Joe Banks

      Hi Lynda,
      I have recently found this website and have been trying to contact someone I met in the sixties that stayed at Walsingham CGH. If you look on the site you will see my letter in reply to Paula Santa-Rita where I found your letter in reply to her. I wondered if you could help me find the girl just on chance you remember her or possibly kept in touch with her when you left?
      Best wishes,
      Joe Banks

    • james lewis

      Did you know a lillian coetzee at Walsingham. I am trying to trace her. Was there about 69 to 1971?

    • Rudolf Golddigger

      I remember the Matelot of the 1966 as everything but a gay club. We went there that time when we needed a smashing evening and a one night stand, or before another drink at the Smugglers Inn.

  3. Allan Hannah
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald
    Walshingham brings back some memories for me as well!
    Strange how items that that are posted by other folk trigger memories! Well, maybe not so strange!!
    Some notes ago I mentioned Ma Smethhurst, a wonderful person who worked in Standard Bank ABC branch.
    Well there was another good lady that worked at the same branch and who was a great person to have around when one had problems, large or small, and needed someone to talk to! She introduced me to sisters who stayed at Walshingham and I took one of them out on a date on a couple of occasions. The girls were both working so I agree that the establishment was for young ladies, past school going age!
    I don’t think that the Matelot was at the Esplanade Hotel, open for correction! I do recall listening to “Dickie Loader and the Blue Jeans” in a hotel which I thought was the Esplanade Hotel. Perhaps the number of beers that were imbibed during our exploits have dulled my memory!!
    On the North Coast, in them thar days, I think one could call Umhlanga Rocks the first beach outside of the “Durban area”. Then there was Umhloti, followed by La Mercy, Umhlali, Ballito, Salt Rock and a host of smaller beaches. Today the beaches mentioned are almost connected by development, the new hub being the Intentional airport which is light inland and south of Ballito.

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Allan
    I stand corrected. The Esplanade Hotel was not the one I was thinking of, it was the Riviera Hotel. Was the Matelot not at the Riviera? The Esplanade had the Al Fresco
    and it was next to The Royal Natal Yacht Club which is no longer there. Dickie Loader and the Blue Jeans played at the Al Fresco on occasions. I remember the Al Fresco closed shop at about 7 pm and then reverted to being a restaurant.

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      The Matelot was a bar on the ground floor of a building that might have been a hotel though if it was a hotel the hotel entrance and foyer had a different door. It was near the sea and if I am not wrong it was in a back street towards the south part of the beachfront? Does the Riviera still exist? Anyone knows any gays from back then that might remember this historical place?

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      For Mozambicans south is in the direction of Durban and Cape Town would that be north for South Africans? I always get confused between north and south when talking to South Africans about places in Mozambique/South Africa. The Matelot was towards the south that is in the direction of Cape Town not Mozambique would that be north or south beach?

    • Karen Ward

      Going to ask around re the Matelot! But the first gay club I know was Stardust which was on the first1st floor of a building. It was down a tiny road off West St down ter the cinema’s.

    • Tony de Wijn

      I remember Dickie Loader also played at the Blue Lagoon restaurant for a while.

  5. peter
    | Reply

    Hi All, with regard to the so-called Indian restaurants, may I add that the Goodwill Lounge at the bottom end of Victoria Street was owned by impressario Pumpy Naidoo who arranged regular jazz concerts there, one memorable one was of jazz clarinettist Tony Scott ( London ). There is a photo on the net somewhere with Tony doing a session with renowned local pianist Lionel Pillay.The Goodwill was on the ground floor and there were rooms at the back where one could book a day or two. The Victory Lounge in Grey Street was also on street level. The one restaurant nearby that had a shop at the street level and restaurant on the first floor was the Delhi Restaurant. Other popular restaurants at the time were the Khyber on the first floor in Grey Street, Golden Peacock in Victoria Street etc, etc.

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      Hi Peter,

      My memory may be failing me but I am almost 100% sure that the restaurant I went to that “escaped apartheid rules” (though discreetly no loud political stance low profile)was in or near the Indian market in an area where many Hindus lived?

    • Paula Santa-Rita

      I just have to add that the restaurant I am referring to was not an “indian food restaurant for whites”: it was owned by Indians, the customers were mostly Indians and sometimes a few whites were discreetly allowed in and I think it was in the area of town near the large Indian market.
      At the time someone from Durban told me that it was the only restaurant in the hole of South Africa that was not forced to comply with apartheid rules but this might not have true?

    • Fiona tucker

      The Stardust club was in Union Lane in the old Playboy club. Matelot and Pussycat were the first of the gay clubs, but I heard that the very first was in Old Well Court in Smith St, to the side of the back of the OK Bazaars

  6. claudette
    | Reply

    Gerald I know there was a
    Natal Business College in Henwoods Arcade run by a Mrs Morgan,she occupied the two floors,when I went there in 1961 she then must of been in her late 70;s and it was only girls,a we would have to line up ouside of Henwoods arcade and wait for her to come ,

  7. adrienne
    | Reply


    My father used to park his gypsy fortune telling caravan on the beach from in Durban.

    My dad was king of the gypsies and my mother a bombshell blond, unable to upload any photos.

    In Johannesburg Mercia Love used to entertain with my family in the 60′ s often. [Sentence deleted. Ed.]

    Is their any music of hers anywhere at all?

    In the 70’s their was a gay club in Durban that I think was called gemini? I went there once and had a rather interesting time. In the 70’s and 80’s gay clubs where all the rage.

    Ok much love

    Gypsey ( Adrienne) Montes

  8. Tony de Wijn
    | Reply

    Gerald I am pretty sure the name of the school was St Josephs Convent. It was just behind the corner of Grey and Smith in Convent Lane behind what was later Durdoc Centre. It was a very small school for girls only.

    Tony de Wijn

  9. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Gnat (Tony),
    I remember St Joseph’s quite well and it’s frontage was in Smith Street with the side in Grey (later Broad Street). There is a nice picture of it here on FAD. Do a SEARCH for St Joseph’s School. Also Paula says about preparing girls for Matric. I think I am right in saying for girls, St Joseph’s only went up to Std 5 or Std 6 and then they had to go to Convent in St Andrew’s St. Boys were restricted I think to Class 1 and 2, possibly Std 1 and then were sent to St Henry’s, the only Catholic High School for Boys in Durban then.
    Hope you are well.

  10. Joe Banks
    | Reply

    Joe Banks
    Hi Paula,
    Having just found this great website about Durban in the past by Allan Jackson I was amazed to read you stayed at Walsingham CGH in the sixties as I have been trying to contact someone I met from there around the time you were there. I was in the merchant navy with Union Castle and Clan Line and we called at all of South African ports from the UK quite often. To get to the point, we used to invite some of the girls from the Hostel to a party on board our ship and the irony of this is we could have actually met if you had been one of the girls, like I said, amazing! Anyway the miracle I`m hoping for is that you could know Dolores Van Zyl who as I said I met or you are in contact with anyone else who stayed there at this time and might know of her or her where abouts now? Yes I know, it is 45 plus years since so it is a bit of a miracle I`m hoping for but if you don’t ask you never know?? It just seemed a coincidence that I found you Paula along with Allans web with information I have never been able to find before and I also couldn’t find any information about the nuns we did meet.
    By the way I also have a Mercia Love LP which I got at the same time and in fact I kept all my vinyl over the years and play them quite often which are now back in vogue.
    Here`s hoping you receive this email and respond with some positive news Paula.
    All the best,

  11. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Joe
    As is the nature of this site, it does a lot of what I like to call “passing trade”. People pass by, add their bit and move on. Some come back again others never seem to. Paula wrote her comments about 3 years ago so whether she still looks in I am not sure. However I will contact you privately as to a possible means of contacting her.

  12. Fiona Thcker
    | Reply

    Hi, the Matelot was in Point Rd. Mercia Love is living in Durban in a retirement home. Walsingham is now the residence for Durban Technikon

  13. Fiona Tucker
    | Reply

    contact me for Mercia’s no

  14. Ricky
    | Reply

    Was mercia love her real name

    • Allan Jackson

      Yes it was. Still is AFAIK 🙂

  15. Jocelyn Walker
    | Reply

    The name of the other gay, more upmarket club was the union..named after the road it was in I think. Then another club opened which was near the Killarney Hotel, named The Zodiac.
    Natal Business College was a secretarial college for students after they had finished schooling. My sister was there in 1962.
    I remember Mercia Love at the L. A. many moons ago. She sure could belt out some songs.

  16. Fiona tucker
    | Reply

    Hi all, Mercia Love is in bad health and is in a frail care facility in Durban. She had to stop singing years ago through throat issues and now after a broken hip and many operations, she had her right leg amputated. Despite this she still has a good humour.

    • Adrienne

      Fiona, can you pass her a message? My father King of the gipsies passed many years ago. if you can tell her my mother Joy Martin of the Flea market is now 95. any pics of her? old and new. Which care home/

    • Adrienne

      I have a photo of her (Mercia) with my mother. how do I send it?

    • Allan Jackson

      I have received the picture from Adrienne and posted it here: The Cookie Page

  17. Fiona tucker
    | Reply

    Ring me on 0836430266. I’ll speak to her great pal Glen and visit maybe Fri, pass your message on and then give you her reply. She seems quite reticent for visitors but will do my best

  18. Adrienne
    | Reply

    Fiona, I am in London. Tell her Joy of the Flea Market who was married to Frank they King of the Gypsy’s send her love. She is 95 today. I send her love and remembrance. She spent a lot of time in our house. Thank you

  19. Glen
    | Reply

    Sounds Great Fiona

  20. George Polly
    | Reply

    Hi nice to find this site.The Matalot was a pub at the Drumcree Hotel in Point Road which became Polly’s Lodge and the Pussy Cat Nite Club replaced the Matalot. On the ground floor very discreet and private was the Candy Room gay club run by “Butch”. Zodiac Disco near the Killarney Hotel was a mixed gay/straight Nite Club owned by Ronnie and DJ Frankie who is still in Durban.
    Mercia Love performed at the Claridges Hotel night spot the Cookie Look and the hotel is now called The Tropicana Hotel still run by the Gooderson family.
    I owned The Tiles Club and the Pussy Cat and Odyssey 2001 Disco. Too many memories for this platform. Mercia Love is now in and old age home in Durban 67 years old and confined to a wheel chair. If you know her or wish to contact her forward to my email address

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