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Inanda Valley, A Place Of Influence

If you are looking to catch up with the cultural legacies that contribute to the story of KwaZulu-Natal, then a trip to the Inanda Valley is a must. The Inanda Heritage Route serves as an inspiration to the people that visit as well as pays tribute to those who have made their mark on this area.

The Inanda Valley has been home to Isaiah Shembe, founder of the Church of Nazareth, and John Dube, father of the African National Congress (ANC). In addition, Mahatma Ghandi lived in Inanda during his time in South Africa, from the late 1800s until 1914.

The Inanda Seminary is one of the best known and oldest schools for African girls in South Africa. Daniel and Lucy Lindley were sent by the American Board of Missions to South Africa in 1835, as one of six couples sent to start mission work in the country.

They founded a school for nineteen young girls who would board at Inanda. Funds for the school were provided by the American Missionary Board, Mary Kelly Edwards, the first head teacher was brought from Ohio and served the school for nearly sixty years.

Of significance is that the Lindleys left the mission in the hands of the Reverend James Dube, one of the first African ministers ordained by American missionaries. Reverend James Dube is the father of John Langalibalele Dube who was born on the 11 February 1871 and died on 11 February 1946. John Dube is highly regarded as an educationist, journalist, and as a political leader. He was the first president of the African National Congress and founder of the Ohlange Institute.
One of the most prominent writers of his time, Dube was also the founder of the Zulu/ English newspaper Ilanga lase Natal (Sun of Natal) in 1903, which is still published today. It was through this paper that he established his political reputation by stressing the need for African unity and African representation and to air more specific grievances. He worked actively to promote the rights of African people both in South Africa and abroad by raising funds, writing and giving talks.
In honour of the pioneering work done by Dube, Nelson Mandela decided to cast his vote at Ohlange High School when South Africa had its first truly democratic elections in 1994.

John Dube's original house has been restored as a museum with his statue (a bronze sculpture by Andries Botha) seated on the veranda. The former chapel is now the African Renaissance Centre and houses a tribute to Nelson Mandela's voting site which includes his statue (sculptured by Andries Botha) and other historical displays.

Located at the Ohlange Institute, the WOWZULU Marketplace provides an opportunity to buy locally made art and craft, and watch storytellers perform (on request).

While John Dube was publishing his newspaper so was one of the other influential residents in the valley. Mahatma Gandhi was publishing 'Opinion' (originally known as 'Indian Opinion') in the Phoenix settlement. This newspaper came into existence in 1903 and continued publication until 1961. The building housing the International Printing Press building which published 'Opinion'. building is now the tourism office for the Phoenix settlement.

The house named Sarvodaya (Well Being for All) was originally build for Gandhi and his family in 1904. The current building is a reconstruction of the original house, which was burnt down during the 1985 Inanda Riots and now dedicated as a monument to peace and justice. A slow walk in silence through Mahatma Gandhi's house to read some accounts of his life as well as insights into his personal thoughts is an exercise in humility.

In 1910, Isaiah Shembe founded the Nazareth Baptist Church, an African initiated church blending Christianity and indigenous Zulu traditions. The Shembe Village of Ebuhleni remains one of the most sacred sites and pilgrimage sites for the Shembe people. Visits to the Shembe Settlement are by prior arrangement and with a guide only.

Other stops on the Inanda Heritage Route include the Inanda Adventures' site on Inanda Dam to canoe on the dam, mountain bike or hike along its edges.
Also visit: the Esikhumulweni Co Operative where old Toyota car seats are turned into handbags for export, Caesar Mkhize's house for his unique beaded animals, the Wushwini Art Centre or Mma Mtshali's.

To relax have lunch at the 'shisa nyama' Sbu's Tavern, at' Under the Moon, the Fashion Café or picnic at the Molweni Picnic Spot or Mzinyathi Falls.
The Mzinyathi Falls is also home to a community of Rastafarians who have built stone shelters at the base of the falls. A visit to the "Rasta Caves" is only possible with the assistance of a guide.

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 Mahatma Ghandi.JPG

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