Pieces of Home: Niamh Walsh-Vorster’s Durban

With holiday season fast approaching and many people returning home to see friends and family or simply touch base for a while, we’re asking a few people to show us where they’re from, be it in words, pictures or illustrations.

Here photojournalist Niamh Walsh-Vorster guides us through the streets, markets, and coastal reaches of Durban, a place in which she works, lives and returns to time and time again for inspiration.

I really love the Durban promdenande, this is something that I’m sure many people who live in and love Durban have expressed before, and I’m okay to be a broken record. The space is used for so many different reasons. For sports and fitness; recreationally; religiously; spiritually; for business. When I was younger I took surfing lessons on this beach .  Of course the space is riddled with divisions between people, even though we pass each other on our walks, photo missions, tanning sessions. It’s a microsm of who we are as people living in South Africa, I believe.
I really love the Durban promenade. This is something that I’m sure many people who live in and love Durban have expressed before, and I’m okay with being a broken record. The space is used for so many different reasons. For sports and fitness; recreationally; religiously; spiritually; for business. When I was younger I took surfing lessons on this beach too. Of course the space is riddled with divisions between people, even though we pass each other on our walks, photo missions, or tanning sessions. It’s a microcosm of who we are as people living in South Africa, I believe.
The Durban CBD filled with Art Deco architecture and urban cool kids. I was walking in town and the greenery of Heat City stood out, “Adidas, American Flags and Grennery in Heat City.”
The Durban CBD is filled with Art Deco architecture and urban cool kids. I was walking in town and the greenery of Heat City stood out: “Adidas, American Flags and Greenery in Heat City.”
I often tell people that the Durban CBD is very much an African city. The rules, flows and fashions are infuenced from a uniquely African way of living. There are traces of Westernised ways, because the histroy of colonialism and globalised trends exist, but we are unlike any other city in SA.
I often tell people that the Durban CBD is very much an African one. The rules, flows and fashions are influenced by a uniquely African way of living. There are traces of Western influence, because the history of colonialism and globalised trends exist, but we’re a highly unique city. 
This image was made after a prayer meeting at Central City Mission in town. Two women Methodist ministers chat outisde. My mother was a minister at the Methodist Church in the building in 2002 . I attended Sunday School here and forged a life long friendship with the twins, Phiwe and Zuziwe, who are the daughters of the then Bishop, Purity Malinga. The church has had some really influential women leaders in it for me. Bishop Malinga was the first black woman to be ordained as Bishop, and  she was powerful in her position that she worked in during the years 1999-2007.  Being a ministers kid (MK) has given me access to places I  wouldn’t usually explore, and provides a unique perspective of how I experience and interact with my city.
This image was made after a prayer meeting at Central City Mission in town. Two women Methodist ministers chat outside. My mother was a minister at the Methodist Church in the building in 2002. The church has had some really influential women leaders in it for me. Bishop Malinga was the first black woman to be ordained as Bishop, and she took up a powerful position during the years 1999-2007. Being a minister’s kid has given me access to places I wouldn’t usually explore, and provides a unique perspective of how I experience and interact with my city.
The old childrens hospital next to Addington Hospital on South Beach.
The old children’s hospital next to Addington Hospital on South Beach.
The Durban July, a prized event that happens for the city, which benefits local businesses for a moment.
The Durban July, a prized event that happens in the city, is hugely beneficial for local businesses.
One of my closest friends, Asanda Chonco, on her memulo day in Bulwer, which is a small town in The Midlands. The mountain area surrounding her in this photo is of great significance to her fathers side of the family. Her paternal grandmother still lives “on the farm”, as Asa always says it when she tells me about holidays away from the City and in the remote area of her ancestors lands. It was a rather spectaculr event and moment in our journey as friends, to witness her  and her sisters “coming out” party.
One of my closest friends, Asanda Chonco, on her memulo day in Bulwer, which is a small town in The Midlands. The mountain area surrounding her in this photo is of great significance to her father’s side of the family. Her paternal grandmother still lives “on the farm”, as Asa always says it when she tells me about holidays away from the city and in the remote area of her ancestors’ lands. It was a rather spectacular event and moment in our journey as friends, to witness her and her sisters “coming out” party.
Whilst on assignment for a newspaper in Durban, I was sent out on a rainy Sunday to get snaps of the dreary weather. It sounds like a less exciting job to be given, but the perks of it is  that you’re allowed to get creative. This image reflects a rickshaw carrier leaving the Durban beachfront, assumabley to go hom, no one wants be in a rickshaw during a Durban downpour.
Whilst on assignment for a newspaper in Durban, I was sent out on a rainy Sunday to get snaps of the dreary weather. It sounds like a less exciting job to be given, but the perks of it are that you’re allowed to get creative. This image reflects a rickshaw carrier leaving the Durban beachfront, likely heading home, because no one wants be in a rickshaw during a Durban downpour.

Find more by Niamh Walsh-Vorster over here.

Got a few pieces of home you’d like to share with us? Let us know at submissions@10and5.com  

One Comment

  1. Such beautiful images! I love Durban.