Grey Street Casbah

posted in: Links 50

 

I have always been conscious that FAD’s coverage is incomplete and that we do not reflect the experience of all Durbanites. There has never been any intention to exclude anyone but the limited time I have had available has meant that, apart from several months of intense research before the site and book first launched, I have tended to focus on material that came to me rather than the reverse.

Anyhow, there is a coverage gap and I was reminded of this by Buddy Govender who left a comment on one of our posts earlier this month. One of the things he had to say was that he and his friend Ishaan Blunden run a Facebook page celebrating Durban in general and the Grey Street Casbah and surrounds in particular. There is much of interest on the page and it is definitely worth keeping tabs on it.

 

Share this:
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedin

50 Responses

  1. Amarasen Naidoo
    | Reply

    we also used to go the Peacock Restuatant

  2. Dawood Rasool
    | Reply

    Hi. Read with interest about this page. I remember the 80 s very well and we use to own Scala Cafe and Scala Cinema in Warwick Avenue from the 70 s until we were forced to close in 1985. Remember the Dasheens well. Also remember Ananth Singh using our cinema to view his movies. In fact the people of Warwick Avenue are having a reunion on the 3May 2014 at the St Anthonys Hall in Carlisle Street.

    The 80s was wonderful, spending time in Underground Den buying music, Cenci Boutique, owned by brothers Suren and Naveen, messing around with John Kajee from the famous travel agency, Rasheed “Doc” Docrat, well known visual merchandiser, who now owns his own label, popping into Cassanova, Moss, Playboy and Giovani, chatting with the owner of Victoria Cycle(Aunty Mariam)family friend, Dreamland Cinema. Great days they were and and as a university student then, this was a great time to unwind. I still meet with some of the boys of the Dasheens.

    I’m an Industrial Psycholgist now and has being one since 1990. I now live in Centurion but I’m down in Durban every month.

    If ever u need information about Warwick Avenue drop me a mail.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Dawood
      Thanks for your input. The 60s and 70s, 80s were different times if one looks back and let’s face it areas were well defined. However some of us did venture into the Indian areas and I never felt threatened when I did. I still recall taking the family through Ajmeri Arcade just so they could experience it and when I was younger often accompanied my mother to the Indian Market in Warwick Avenue. Keeping up with the 60’s fashion craze, I used to shop at Govanson’s in Grey St and used to be served exclusively by Lighty. Round the corner from Govansons in Commercial Road was an iron gate that led into a courtyard. In here was a men’s hairdressers called All Saints. I used to have my hair cut there cause they were far better at hair styling than the “short back and sides” you got at the traditional “barbers”. I still recall the looks as I walked in and sat amongst the others. Surprised they were, but nothing ever happened. A shop I recall vividly in Warwick Avenue was Angler’s Paradise. My late uncle, a keen bay and pier fisherman (you could fish anywhere in those days) introduced me to that shop and always bought all his gear there. They did good business as there always was a melee round that shop especially in shad season. If I recall it was not big in size and every bit of stock they had was attached to the walls or the ceiling. With the other shops in the area also very busy, it was mayhem on Fridays as we used to go there after 5 pm. I recall Kajees Travel Agency they used to advertise in the papers as well as Kathrees where I used to go for radio parts. I never regret that I did “cross the line” in a small way. I suppose at least it gave me an insight into other cultures and ways of doing things which many merely bypassed.

    • JAYACELAN PILLAY
      |

      Are you the same Gerald that was a technician in charge of Reservoir Hills Exchange?
      Wow, if you are, I a blown away. It is amazing how one can cross paths after so many years. My name is Jay Pillay and I served a short apprenticeship at the exchange with Vish and Jay Singh in 1973. Gary was the outdoor maintenance technician.
      This has to be amazing to know that you are still a very upright man (from the way you write). Really very very exciting if this is who I think you are.

      My email address is pillayj101@gmail.com.

    • Gerald
      |

      Hi Jay
      Yes that is I. I cannot quite place your name but quite correct. I was in charge and had the first four Indian technicians under my wing. The Reservoir Hills exchange (Code 82 XXXX) was commissioned by Siemens in 1972. I was the Liasion Officer and worked with the installers from 1971 to learn the ropes of what then was a new technology breaking away from the British Two Motion Selector system. This was the time of the sanctions remember. The first four Indian staff appointed were Jai Singh, Chris Mudaly, Vish Ganesh and Budhu Somaru. I know Vish and Budhu ended up with long service and by now with staff reductions I would venture to say all of them have taken their packages. I did not stay at Reservoir Hills too long as I moved along down to the Beach 37 Exchange
      where I was involved from the first racks being installed till commissioning in 1975. Again a Siemens construct. After that I was moved to start up the Beach National Dial Exchange, which was installed to work along with the aging Pine Street National Dial Exchange and also as a security standby in case these key points were targeted. There were no cell networks in those days. I had an interesting career unfortunately cut short by circumstances beyond my control.

    • Mark Naidoo
      |

      WoW.. awesome read guys…. brings back many memories of the telephone industry.. I was an apprentice Technician at Chatsworth Exchange (1982) and trained in Masonic Grove. Used to use the Warwick triangle route daily to the Post Office College in Masonic off Smith Street ( next to the High Court). Late, I served as a politician on the Durban Metro council and assisted the Early Morning Market traders when the council wanted to close the market and move them to the old municipal bus depot in Alice Street.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Mark
      Can you remember the street address of the Chatsworth Exchange?

  3. Shaheda Pillay
    | Reply

    I was born and bred in the Warwick Triangle. Lived in Wills Court, Vinay Court and finally having been thrown out by the Group Areas Act to Kajee Musa Building. What good memories and carefree lives we lived then. Miss it so much.

    • Sandy Victor (Von Berg)
      |

      Hey Shaheda did you attend Epsom Road School?…..Sandy

    • selvan
      |

      hi Shaheda
      my name is selvan and I need to know mills road and the bus and hotel owners naidoos I think that lived there doing some groundwork
      my father is TEX a former main street boy ,my mother ambi same area as well

  4. Yashoda Ramasary
    | Reply

    Does anyone know the address of Moss my late father used to buy clothes from the store I would love to go there.

  5. stanley allan kyd-reddy
    | Reply

    Yeah those were the good old days’ went to Epsom Road School lived in Overport; Mayville etc still remember Gino”s Cafe,The Raj Cinema,Avalon, Shah Jehan,Goodwill Lounge,Manjeras,Moolas next to Greville Racecourse,had my haircut at Ossies,The Young Generations,Young Americans,Young Victorians,Queens Brigade and The Dusheens etc week-ends @ Curries Fountain dressed to the tee watching Berea,Manning Rangers,Suburbs, Aces stars of that era: Walla & Lionel Hamiel,Siga,Gavin Snyman,Brian Gobi, Burrie Martin,Joey Lazarus,could go on for ever….What about Hollywood”s, Ambaram”s (Baboo) Gingers(Shan&Suri)Next door was Patel’s really good old days,The Flames, Naked Truth,The Chayennes Aah Man i could go on forever now residing in Johannesburg but, my heart still longs for the good old days of My Durbs.Does anybody want to share please contact me on 0836788977….Stan.

    • Reg Naidoo
      |

      Hi Stan,
      Stumbled on this website and really thrilled to read all about the good old days in Durban. I was born and raised in Beatrice Street. I’m currently living in the US, been here for 28 years but still miss Durban.
      Please feel free to contact me via email.
      Thanks for the memories.
      Regards,
      Reg

    • etta Nabbi
      |

      Hi Reg,
      Trust you are well in the US. I am also a Beatirce/Lorne Street guy. Cannot remember you by name but will definitely by face. We were many cousins – Aubrey, Dennis, Brian, Leon, Edwin(and many more) – belonging to maternal grandparents – the Abraham Family. With my brother(Alec) and some of the other cousins we played football for the local teams – Young Aces, Derby United, Carlisle United, Berea United and Spartak FC. Brian Abraham played professionally for Verulam Suburbs. Wonderful days. The Shah, Himalaya, Greyville Race Course, the circus tent across from Valjees Flats(cnr Beatrice Street & Albert Street.
      I now live in Sydenham.

      ALL THE BEST TO YOU AND FAMILY.
      Regards,
      Etta Nabbi.

    • DANNY MOODLEY
      |

      Hi Reg/Etta

      I lived in Beatrice St.In the 60s,I stayed in Prakash Mansion,with my granny,and my uncle,who had a
      fruit and veg business inn the Durban Harbour,my uncle had a Blue Austin Van.
      on Sundays we used to play soccer on the road,Shah Jehan,was nearby.

      regards

      Danny Moodley

  6. David Frank
    | Reply

    Reading all of this also brings back so many memories. Went to primary school at Methodist Primary known as “Penny a Penny”. How many of you remember that. Also stayed in Scala’s if I remember flat 306 with my Aunty Mildred and my mum’s sister Aunty Chookie in flat 105 with my cousins Kevin, Brian and Farouk. Also went to Sastri College. My family lived in this area for many years. I remember playing soccer in the yard with Derek, Tony, Troy, Sam and Anwar so of the names I can remember. Currie’s Fountain the place to be when Manning Rangers and Berea was playing with the Dasheens under the big tree, Martin, Speedy and OX to name some of them. Golden Peacock the best beans bunnies and burgers. Under Ground Den the records we bought couldn’t stop listening. Of course the technikon changed all of that. I then moved and lived with Aunty in Himalaya House not far of. Made some good friends with Dawie, and Warren. Wonder where they are now. Well also in JHB but hope to move back soon. Yep the good old days…David

    • Alan
      |

      I remember all mentioned here, sadly Dawie passed away about 14 years ago and his eldest brother Sarge about 4 years ago

    • Chitra
      |

      I went to the same school in the sixties,it was referred to as penny ha’penny.I lived in Market Building in Etna Lane,Fond memories of the area and the colourful characters that resided there.My sister is writing a book about her recollections of the times

  7. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    from the 60s was the most interesting times.,I remember Kajee Moosa Building,where
    my uncle lived,further up was the well known, Barnabas Family,Sam was the first dancing school teacher
    followed by his brother Lenny,Scala Cinema was a favourite place.I lived in Beatrice Street,during that time,not far from Universal Printing.theres a lot more,
    Buddy Govender is doing a good job,reminding the old timers keep it up

    • selvan
      |

      hi Danny
      reading all this is just great
      looking for info on Jeff manager at hims his sister and Tex govender(still alive)to date a former gangster of main street who married jeffs sister
      I really want to know the bus owners from mill street a possible relation
      hoping you would know
      regards selvan 0845891868

  8. John Baker
    | Reply

    Hi.my name is john baker.my nickname is “balla”. I was born in 87 Etna lane which was the real “casbah”.I want to write a book about my memories about life in our area.. About the fighting and the 49 roits.the dasheens.Beatrice street..crimson league and the Sydenham gangs including the salot gang from over port. With no offence to anybody I would be grateful for assistance with this very memorable project and hoping to hear from anybody who can help.
    Kindest regards. John.

  9. SAGIE MOODLEY
    | Reply

    It truly amazing that all of these stories have such great significance in that even the gangsters are remembered. Lot of the articles carry the story of the DASHNEES- esp SPEEDY/MARTIN AND not forgetting Blacks.tHEIR TRADE MARK ENTRANCE INTO Curries FOUNTAIN With the no shirts and the beer bottles in one hand and marching aroound the ground,to their famous corner.

  10. SHANEL
    | Reply

    HI BUDDY THERE IS A PLACE IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN HAS NOT BEEN MENTIONED AND YET IT WAS THE HEART OF THE CASBAH. WAS THE CLUB BON CHANCE ON THE TOP FLOOR OF THE FLATS . MY BROTHER IN LAW WAS THE LEADER OF THE BAND THE GOLD MEDALLIONS AT THE TIME.IT WAS SO UNIQUE IN THAT A BAND FROM CHATSWORTH WAS PLAYING IN THE HEART AND SOUL OF QUEEN STREET . THE POINT I AM ALSO TRYING TO MAKE IS THAT PEOPLE HAD SUCH TOLERANCE .IMAGINE LIVING IN A BLOCK OF FLATS AND MUSIC IS BLARING OUT TILL 12 MIDNIGHT. NOW DAYS THE CLUBS ONLY START AT 12.00AM

    • DANNY MOODLEY
      |

      Yes –I REMEMBER THAT NITE CLUB,BON CHANCE IT WAS IN GOODHOPE CENTRE,THE OWNERS WERE THE NULLIAHS.
      NOT FAR FROM THERE WAS THE BUTTERWORTH HOTEL,THOSE WERE THE DAYS

  11. yusuf haffajee
    | Reply

    Hi.just read aĺl these old stories from people that used to live in town back in the day. I used to live in carlisle street. And went to hindu tamil primary school and fineshed high school at sastri college, but first went to greyville high. Had a lot of friends from the may street and surrounding area. I wonder if anyone is still around. My surname is haffajee but my friends used to call me pipes

    • Etta Nabbi
      |

      Hi Pipes, I am Etta Nabbi – cousin of the late Colin and Charles. We were grand children of the Abrahams family in lorne Street. I was older than you guys. Late Georgie Heslop and Bunch(Sirkhot) and I used to spin together. How’s your Bro doing? Yes, I remember well the good old days. The Himalaya – matinee sessisons and the evening balls. The Shah and the other movie houses in the city centre. At the time was playing for Spartak F.C. I’m still in Durban – just retired in December 2017 and residing in Sydenham. Regards to you.

  12. Errol Khan
    | Reply

    Hey guys, what fond memories of Durbs. The best place to be at the time matinee sessions at mountains (Himalaya( with grapevines, spewie , the Flames etc. Also Bon Chance in Queen Street. Also fondly remember my late uncle Ken’s band The Gay Caballeros playing at Delhis (not to sure abt the name) cnr.of Grey & pine sts in the sixties. Wow….you can’t match those glorious memories. Now living in Jhb since 1967 on & off. By the way biggest supporter of “Berea”. Remembering Gavin, Daya, Pat, Dudu, Fikkie, Saddique……what a team

  13. Naren Thaker
    | Reply

    Naren

    Hi,

    I do not know Buddy or Ishaan personally since I returned from India where I was studying in 1980. Since then I was more concerned in furthering my studies and then getting a job. I am still currently at my job, soon to retire.

    I am staying right in the Casbah, My memories of the area date before the ’70s before I went to India. In those days you could walk to Blue Lagoon and back at anytime completely safely. Sunkist used to be a must stop at weekends. During that period walking into West Street was a dare, since it was mainly a whites only area. Ice cream ( soft serve ) at the West / Grey street corner was a treat. Payne Brothers and OK bazars were shops we used to frequent. Payne Brothers is now Game and OK bazars is still there but is now a shell of it former self. The environment need a major revamp from its current condition and they are considering making it a two way street again due to the loss incurred by businesses in the area when traffic is one way only. I used to go to Balkoomar swimming pool from Grey Street and take the bus back to town from Tarndale Avenue. By the way my son started schooling at Greenfern. He is now employed at Dormac

  14. Amrath
    | Reply

    hi I’m from Twin Stores opposite Himalaya hotel . I remember it all the gangsters Barker his bro Bunchky Rajab . Knobs Blondy Campbell of Flames Oasis barber shop .Kathrees radio .city fruit cafe .old Jiga Fish. Reg Naidoo please contact me on amrath.rama@gmail.com or any other interred person. Amrath Patel

  15. Buddy Govender
    | Reply

    Wonderful memories indeed. Just shows how ‘connected’ we ALL still are regardless of where we are in the world today. Allan Jackson’s page evokes awesome memories of our beautiful City over the generations. Thank you Allan! As he said in his opening statement please do visit our FaceBook page ‘Grey Street Casbah and Surrounds’ and walk in the ‘magic’ of days gone by.
    My family have over a 100 years of living in the Casbah itself. My Uncle Sunny Morgan was the Capt of Aces Utd in the SASL and my grandmom Bella Abdie was the supporters club chairlady. Pardon me for ‘name-dropping’ but these 2 names should evoke more memories from you all. I lived in Goodhope Centre in Queen St most of my life and I am a ‘town boy’….lol
    Together with a portal such as ‘Facts About Durban’ and ‘Grey Street Casbah’ we write books of life, people, incidents, food, music, movies, politics, sports etc, etc…DAILY!
    If anybody wishes to contact me personally you can get me on email at buddy@eastcoast.co.za or on faceBook buddy.govender
    A deep bow to you all for sharing your wonderful memories. See you in the Casbah!

  16. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Buddy am back again, My Uncle from Beatrice St, Nadas Govender ,I lived thrre as well,he knew your uncle
    Sunny Morgan and Crash Morgan, The Nulliahs owned the Bon Chance at Good Hope Centre, and Tony Peters also live in that Flat,
    My uncle owned Victory Lounge and his friend owned Goodwill Lounge, his name was Pumpy Naidoo.
    Mr. Jameson was the Manager of the Himalaya Hotel,he shot himself. He was a very strict person. The Rajabs owned the Shah Jehan Cinema. –The Patels owned Twin Stores in Grey street, I always went to the Scalas Cinema. We must not forget Universal Printers in Beatrice Street—-very well Known.I also used to train in Karate at A K Ismails, we used to call him AK.

  17. Sandy Victor (Von Berg)
    | Reply

    Hi Danny, I came across this site about a few months ago, whilst trying to see if there was anything about the Salot family, and as I continued reading, I could hardly breathe, the excitement, nervousness, would I find anyone I knew back in Durban. All the familiar names and places, Just took me back to my childhood days, driving around with Daddy. My dad was Gloves Salot. Dee, Mascot and Ismail were my uncles.(Lighty and Chappy) We lived in Overport. Went to Epsom Road School. Then Park Hill High.
    I am Sandy Victor (Von Berg) (Salot)

  18. Buddy Govender
    | Reply

    Hi there Danny and Sandy, Good to hear from you both and trust that you are well. You mention ALL the names that are Casbah son’s and daughters. My family had close dealing with them all. My best wishes to you and yours always. Buddy Govender

  19. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    Hi Sandy, hope that you are well,,How can I not know the Salots,they were also in conflict with the Crimson League.
    Who was that person that was in the front –working on the Sewing Machine,in Overport.
    The Salots were always at the Grey Street Taxi Rank–in Grey Street.Those were the days..
    Hi Buddy,which part of Durban were you from,my friend.

    Nice talking about the good old days,keep it going.

    • Sandy Victor (Von Berg)
      |

      Hi Buddy, Nice to hear from you, My father Gloves Salot always spoke about Sunny and Crash Morgan and Danny the person that was in the front of the shop in Overport, working on the sewing machine was Aunty Kay, Uncle Mascot’s wife. We all lived there. It was called “The Fort” in West Road in Overport.

  20. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    ITS A SMALL WORLD, I USED TO VISIT OUR FAMILY IN VIEW STREET—THE CURRY KING; DO0 YOU KNOW
    ESSOP GANI—THE SINGER AND VIVIAN KENSLEY THEY LIVED IN OVERPORT. .CAN YOU PLEASE ADVISE AS TO WHO IS ALIVE. SORRY TO ASK.. DO YOU REMEMBER ANOTHER WELLKNOWN PERSON–NAMED MICHAEL JOHN.

  21. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    Hi Sandy — Buddy and others —
    I have been documenting the history and happenings for the last 40 years of Durban and surroundings.
    you can contact me and get info from me–of what I can remember.
    you remember SEAMAN CHETTY WHO HAD A FISH STALL IN THE MARKET–HE WAS ALSO A BOXER—-ALSO
    MIDGET CHIN A TOP BOXER WHO LIVED UPSTAIRS AT SIMONS CAFE. AND A WELL KNOWN PERSON
    CALLED MARKET DADDY. . MY GRANNY OF BEATRICE STREET TOLD THAT I AM NAUGHTY–BECAUSE I SOLD
    BLACK MARKET TICKETS IN NAAZ–AVALON AND RAJ. ALSO MY UNCLE WORKED AT ROYAL PICTURE PALACE–HIS NAME WAS SCAMPY–A STRONG HARM GUY.– THOSE WERE THE DAYS. — ANOTHER STRONG
    GUY—–DAVID JACK— THERES MORE; REGARDS GOD BLESS

  22. Frank Beeton
    | Reply

    Seaman Chetty was also a bus operator. I remember visiting him in his house (I think it was in Overport or Sydenham) in 1969 when I was working for the Leyland Motor Corporation and we were finalising the sale of a new bus to him. The house contained several stained glass windows depicting places he had visited during his world travels.

  23. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Frank
    yes its true—his buses were Blue in colour—-with the words Seamons on the sides.
    His buses used to run from Merebank to Durban and from Clairwood to Durban. He was a very simple man,who respected all.
    the good old days.

  24. Sandy Victor (Von Berg)
    | Reply

    Yes, I knew Essop Gani and Vivian Kensley and The Golden City Dixis with Jonathan Butler (singer) who was about 10 years old then. And Michael John, I think a friend of dad or he spoke about him because I know the name. Dad also later managed the Adelphi Cinema in Sparks Road, Overport. I wonder if it is still there? Mom was from Town and used to tease dad that she was a Dusheen. The Salot brothers owned a Taxi Business and I think that is how all the trouble started with the Crimson League. Danny – Ismail is the only brother alive.

  25. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Sandy,you sure know your history,you have to put it in paper.Vivian Kensley ,Essop Gani and a few more
    were top singers in those days,they7 were in most Nite Spots.We also knew the Dushene–from Old Dutch Road..

    I used to always be at Balkomaar Swimming Pool.with my cousins from Asherville.

    regards

  26. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hello Sandy
    are they still around, Vivian Kensley,Essop Gani and also Nikki Cassim.

    Did you hear of the Curry Kings–who owned a Spice Business,they lived in View Street,
    and also the Singhs who owned a Hotel in Overport

  27. Sandy Victor (Von Berg)
    | Reply

    Hi Danny, That was the Admiral Hotel not far from us on Crescent Street. Vivian and Essop I think went back to Cape Town. I went to Boarding School in Pietermartzburg.Then lost contact. I think they teamed up with the Coon Carnival, Al Hendricks. I am in Johannesburg on 011 249 6700.

  28. vino govender
    | Reply

    hi Danny
    need some info please-any chance of emailing you privately about the people mentioned-thanks

  29. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Vino

    my email address is moodley.danny@telkomsa.net
    I will do the best I can

  30. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    Hi. Sorry if tried to get me.I was out of Town.you can get me on moodley.danny@telkomsa.net;

  31. Cory Henri
    | Reply

    Wonderful memories. Although we weren’t town boys, we spent a lot of time in town. My mum worked at Himalaya(Aunty Faye), my cousins lived in fountain lane, Knobs, Malcolm and Dice.my dad”s sister and my cousins lived in valjees bldg, Beatrice street. My cousin Eileen married Bruce Baker, also from Beatrice street, I think it was above mk Bobby naidoo’s travel agent. Had my hair cuts at Ossie’s, shah jehan and Scala were favourite hangouts. Had lots of school mates in the Warwick avenue, wills road precinct. Went to Melbourne road and umbilo. Me and my brothers were beach boys (Isipingo beach) and we were lifeguards there for a long time. Thanks for the memories,

  32. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    Hi Cory those were the good old days.Which year was this,because I was in Beatrice in the 60s,which was alongside Fountain Lane. In Isiping Beach ,then you must have known Cecil Reddy,and his brother was a
    Life Guard there.and he used to teach Swimming at the Pools nearby. I lived in the Flat in Beatrice Street,opp
    Santock Mansion. Those were the Good Old Day

  33. Buddy Govender
    | Reply

    Thank you all for contributing your awesome memories of living and growing up ‘in town’……

  34. Melissa
    | Reply

    Hi i stumbled across this site and began to read everyones comments although much younger than most i have heard all these stories a million times and still enjoy it when my dad speaks of people i most likely will never meet in my life. my dad hailed from springtown know as mannie ,mickey”s brother and im sure once some1 reads this they will know them.

    Long live good memories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *