John Dube’s house

Most of the work we do is focused on intangible heritage – indigenous knowledge, oral history, etc. – but we do occasionally work out in the field.  On a recent trip to Inanda, I was amazed at the state of disrepair of some of the heritage buildings there, in particular John Dube’s house.  The roof is falling down and was meant to be repaired (by ‘government’) two years ago, when the family were moved into temporary accommodation on the property.

The Dube family home

Other buildings which are in desperate need of restoring, and would add value to the burgeoning tourism industry in Inanda, are the iron and wood structures in the Gumede family homestead.  These buildings housed the first doctor’s surgery and post office in the area.

The first doctor's surgery in Inanda

The first post office in Inanda

This is not my area of expertise but I would be interested in hearing from anyone who works with heritage and the built environment to get their opinion on the situation in the province and possibly even the country.

Join the Conversation


  1. I gather that these are designated heritage sites and yet they are not maintained? Do you know which institution is responsible for their maintenance?

  2. Well, actually just the Dube house. The others have still not been designated as heritage sites.

  3. After working on the Dube and Inanda story for ten years now and producing two documentary films, “Oberlin-Inanda: The Life and Times of John L. Dube”(2005) and “Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa”(2009), I have come to the painful conclusion that the depth of the historical knowledge of most decision-makers in the country does not go farther than Albert Luthuli. How can they value someone like Dube(1871-1946) who was the “Mandela” of his time, a very tricky time indeed, faced with the yoke of a double-colonialism: British and Afrikaner? I hope that someone will take decisive action to correct all this neglect.

  4. agreed … funding needs to be ring-fenced for heritage projects otherwise it will always be spent elsewhere, particularly in a development state where there are many short-term needs.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply