Fodor's Expert Review KwaMuhle Museum
Pronounced kwa-moosh-le (with a light e, as in hen), this small museum, housed in what used to be the notorious Department of Native Affairs, tells of Durban's apartheid history. During apartheid the department was responsible for administering the movement of Black people in and out of the city, dealing with the dreaded passes that Blacks had to carry at all times, and generally overseeing the oppressive laws that plagued the Black population. Ironically, the name means "place of the good one," Kwa meaning "place of" and "Muhle" meaning "good one" (after J. S. Marwick, the benevolent manager of the municipal native affairs department from 1916 to 1920). Exhibits provide the often heartbreaking background on this period through old photographs and documents, replicas of passbooks, and lifelike models of people involved in the pass system, including shebeen (informal bar) queens, who had to apply for permits to sell alcohol at a time of prohibition.