Chatsworth, Durban

Country  South Africa
Province KwaZulu-Natal
Metropolitan Municipality eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
Postal code
Area code(s) 031

Chatsworth, is a large Indian township in Durban, South Africa, which was created as a result of the Apartheid Government's Group Areas Act. This area, created in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was populated by those removed from their homes in mixed-race and whites-only areas. Because of this, parts of Chatsworth are still an area of extreme poverty separated from the developed areas of Durban. However there are also large middle class and wealthy areas.

Chatsworth today comprise an overall area with 64 minor suburbs, of which Lamontville at the East, now also is a part. With the neighbour township to the East being Durban South, the borderline of Chatsworth is situated just 4km from the Indian Ocean. The southern border of the township, is drawn by the river from Ntshongweni Dam, with Umlazi being situated at the southern side of the river.


In the 1940s, The Pegging Acts and the Ghetto Act were passed. These acts gave the government the right to remove and destroy shacks and small self-made shelters, with the intention of improving sanitary conditions. This led to the Group Areas Act of June 1950, which designated certain areas for the Whites and other areas for Indians, Coloureds and Africans. Indians were removed from areas such as Mayville, Cato Manor, the Clairwood and Magazine Barracks and the Bluff, and were placed in areas like Riverside and Prospect Hall and at Duikerfontein and Sea Cow Lake.

During the later 1940s and early 1950s, there were advertisements in the papers of an exclusively Indian suburb, Umhlatuzana. Later Silverglen and Red Hill were also developed. Then in the early 1960s Chatsworth was planned, opening in 1964 and consisting of eleven neighborhood units. Modern day Chatsworth has 64 suburbs that fall within its region. Chatsworth was deliberately built to act as buffer between white residential areas and the large African township of Umlazi.

Current situation

As a consequence of its history, Chatsworth still has a predominantly Indian population. It is a centre of Indian culture, and holds the Temple of Understanding - a Hindu temple. Many Indians from Tamil and Telugu backgrounds are present. Such Indian Languages are still spoken at home in many instances, with classes set up to aid in their development.

This area is now a fully fledged suburb of Durban and boasts industrial development with strong infrastructure and has contributed to the growing intellectual capital and business environment of Durban, while at the same time housing evictions of "unwanted" residents and the disconnection of water and electrical utilities plagues those who cannot afford them due to the high unemployment rate.

In around 2000 the flats in two areas of Chatsworth, Bayview and Westcliffe, were briefly the centre of a small social movement known as "the poors," because the developing infrastructure had missed the poorest of the population, and the loss of manufacturing jobs due to the economic liberalization program of self-imposed Structural Adjustment Policies known as GEAR, had increased the economic problems of Chatsworth's poorest residents. However in recent local government elections residents from these areas have supported the narrow ethnic politics of Amichand Rajbansi's Minority Front party.

External links

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