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Durban’s 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals in August 2014
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Durban’s 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals in August 2014

Picture of Deirdre Mulrooney
Updated: 9 February 2017
Durban, known as ‘Durbs’ to locals, reflects South Africa’s rich cultural diversity of African, Eastern and Western influences. When the first Europeans settled in Durban in the 1820s, the Zulu people were already here; half a century later the Indian people were brought in as indentured labourers, followed by traders from the East. Today Durban is a cosmopolitan city, its heritage reflected in the cultural events on offer this August.

Art | Interface 2014

28 July – 7 August

You will find artSPACEdurban (aSd) in a warehouse close to Durban city centre, where it hosts both emerging and established artists and is the central hub for Interface 2012-14. This ten day event produced by Durban-based collective dala, where ‘dala’ is the Zulu for ‘to make’ or ‘to create’, promises to unearth equitable socio-spatial solutions by developing alternative ways to understand public spaces. They have brought six international and two local artists together to explore new possibilities for planning the future of Durban and, more broadly, cities within South Africa, culminating in an aSd exhibition (28 July – 7 August); a colloquium on movement (4 August); dialogue (5 August), and dissidence (6 August). There will also be installations and performances (3 – 7 August, venues tba), and the photography exhibition Durbanity (31 July – 1 August) at Durban Centre for Photography.

This exhibition has now closed.

Interface, artSPACE durban, 3 Millar Road, Durban, South Africa, +27 31 312 0793


Music | Mimi at Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts

1 August

Jazz vocalist, composer, and lyricist Mimi is a jewel in the South African jazz scene, in the style of Miriam Makeba, Caiphus Semenya and Hugh Masekela. She has performed with Sibongile Khumalo, Judith Sephuma, Jimmy Dlulu, and Themba Mkhize, as well as with International acts such as Khadja Nin, Rita Marley, Joe McBride and Lauryn Hill. This August, she will be kicking off her three month tour at the Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts.

This event has now passed.

Mimi, Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts, Bulwer Road, Durban, South Africa, +27 31 201 9969

Design | The 25th World Congress on Architecture

3 – 7 August

Bringing together architects, design and built environment professionals, pioneers in urban planning and thinking, activists, city makers, academics and researchers, students, government officials, thought leaders, and communities from around the world, the World Congress on Architecture allows professionals to debate and discuss alternative strategies for the design and delivery of more habitable, functional and beautiful cities. Running alongside the Scientific Programme, a dynamic and diverse Parallel Programme aims to expand the scope of the Congress and further conversations around built environment issues. Showcasing local, national and international talent, and a range of city venues, these projects will be open to delegates and the general public.

This event has now passed.

World Congress on Architecture, International Convention Centre Durban (ICC), 45 Bram Fischer Road, Durban, South Africa, +27 31 940 4125

Art | Retroactive at Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts

Until 3 August

Retroactive is an urban art intervention by Joseph Manana, Thami Jali and Lalelani Mbhele in collaboration with the KZNSA Durban Centre for Photography and the Community Murals Projects Trust [CMPT]. It focuses on South African heritage and history as well as the socio-political and cultural landscape, marking 20 years of democracy in South Africa. CMPT is a veteran collaborative of muralists who have been producing outstanding public art for 25 years. Initiated by independent Arts and Culture Activator Bren Brophy and CMPT Trustee Terry-Anne Stevenson, the artists were mentored by Architect Tsidi Moahloli.

This event has now passed.

Retroactive, Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban, South Africa, +27 +27 (0)31 277 1705

Art | Interpreting Ceramics at Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts

Until 3 August

Innovative makers of clay art Rayson Hiyani, Ann Shultz, Rita Senekal, Garth Hoets, Lindsay Scott and Andrew Walford create a contemporary ceramic exhibition in which they express ideas through the field of ceramics. Ceramics of striking forms, from the expressive to the functional, feature in the exhibition. For example, ceramic fish decorated by invited painters swim on a wall alongside a section on mugs of all shapes and sizes custom-made especially for the show by contemporary ceramicists.

This event has now passed.

Retroactive, Kwazulu Natal Society of Arts, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban, South Africa, +27 +27 (0)31 277 1705

Music | Socky’s Duo at Jazzy Lunch Durban

From 2 August

The first Saturday of every month, the Alliance Francaise of Durban present a fantastic new Jazz Band to play live music at lunch-time at Café Saint Germain. This month, it’s Socky’s Duo, who are UKZN jazz graduate Mbuso Sokhela on double bass and pianist Mthobisi Mthalane on keyboard. The duo perform a variety of jazz and afro-jazz instrumentals and standards, and all for free entrance. What’s not to like?

This event has now passed.

Socky’s Duo, Alliance Francaise of Durban, Sutton Crescent, Berea, Durban, South Africa, +27 31 312 9582

Performing Arts | 18th South African Women’s Arts Festival at The Playhouse Theatre

20 – 31 August

Opposite City Hall, Durban’s central Playhouse Theatre is a stunning venue, welcoming you with Zulu mosaics and beadwork in the foyer. This August, the Playhouse will be buzzing with the 18th Annual South African Women’s Art Festival, from the play Beyond the Big Bangs, about three women of different ethnicities who live in Durban North, to From Then Til Now, choreographed by Neil Hawkins, which focuses on 20 years of South African democracy. There are also children’s events, book launches, intergenerational dialogue, and culture events a go-go.

This event has now passed.

18th African Women’s Arts Festival, The Playhouse Theatre, 29 Acutt Street, Durban, South Africa

Literature | South African Women’s Art Festival POETRY SLAM

26 August

Poetry Slams are popular in South Africa. They offer a great opportunity for artists to share their stories through the art of poetry, from topics like love, relationships, growing up, violence, and HIV to peer pressure. In this annual Poetry Slam, budding female poets from KwaZulu-Natal get their opportunity to read or recite their original works which are judged by a panel of eminent judges drawn from the local arts community. Hundreds of hopefuls submit their poems via email to the Playhouse Company, from which a final eight are chosen to compete in the Slam. The top three stand a chance of winning public acclaim as well as cash prizes. This is followed by an Open Mic session in which leading South African storytellers, authors and poets share the stage and celebrate women from all walks of life and the invaluable role they play in South African society.

This event has now passed.

Poetry Slam, 18th African Women’s Arts Festival, The Playhouse Theatre, 29 Acutt Street, Durban, South Africa

Dance | 16th JOMBA Contemporary Dance Experience

27 August – 7 September

JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival invites dance lovers and the public to explore an exceptional 12 day programme packed with events for all. Nightly performances at the Sneddon Theatre, a special event JOMBA! City, the popular JOMBA! Fringe and JOMBA! Youth Fringe elements as well as free dance workshops with leading choreographers. Hosted by Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

This event has now passed.

JOMBA, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Mazisi Kunene Rd, Durban, South Africa, +27 31 260 2296


Culture | Festival of India in South Africa

July – August

The largest ever national festival showcasing Indian culture and heritage marks 20 years of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa since the end of the apartheid era, and 100 years since the return of Mahatma Gandhi from Durban to India. The Indian community, largely centred in Durban, was fundamental in the overall development of South Africa and the struggle against apartheid. Durban events include Quwwali Recital at Al Ansaar Hall on 8 August; the Hindi Literary Festival at Hindi Shiksha Sangh 25 – 28 August; Indian Food Festival at Beverly Hills Hotel 8 – 13 August, and most fun of all, a sprinkle of Bollywood at the Indian Film Festival, from 1 – 6 Augustat Suncoast and Havana Cinemas.

This event has now passed.


By Deirdre Mulrooney