Durban Local History Museum is the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal’s rich multi-cultural heritage. eThekwini Municipality exhibits this enthralling history to the public in several unique museums located within the city.

The collections, exhibitions and programmes at the Durban Local History Museums provide a captivating window into eThekwini’s diverse history and rich cultural heritage.


The history of our region and that of Ethekwini in particular is full of colourful characters, interesting facts and rich cultures. Pieced together these form the tapestry of our past, exposing both the blemishes and greatness of our humanity. This web page puts together some snippets of our history in the hope that readers will gain a greater awareness of our shared past while at the same time hopefully encouraging them to explore the subjects in greater detail.

 The Durban System

In the early years of the twentieth century Durban’s population level was relatively low. In 1900 the total population of the town was about 55700 of whom 14600 were African. By 1921 the total had risen to 90500 most of whom were male. This increase prompted the establishment of a structure to administer Africans. This structure of control was built on the revenue derived from the municipal beer monopoly and became known as the “Durban System” with its roots embeded in Theophelus Shepstone togt labour system.

Opening Hours


08h30 to 16h00


08h30 to 16h00


08h30 to 16h00


08h30 to 16h00


08h30 to 16h00





Closed: Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays Admission: Free


Our Address:

31 Diakonia Street. Durban


-29.86295616258944, 31.017282595053757