KwaMashu is a township twenty miles north of Durban, with high levels of poverty and crime. It is Durban's oldest township formed by the apartheid state to house the mass resettlement of Africans that were living in Cato Manor during 1958-65.
It is the largest of 3 townships in the area (Inanda and Ntuzuma are more rural with a lower population density). In total the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) area is home to approx 500,000 people living on 9,572 hectares of land, with almost 25% having incomes below subsistence level and a 30% unemployment rate.
KwaMashu is notable for its lively performance arts scene. Within the township, a lively performing arts scene thrives including Maskandi, hip hop, pansula dancing, dance and drama. Through performance the young people of KwaMashu are raising the cultural profile of KwaMashu, aided significantly by the skills, resources and direction of Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre for Arts and Performance.
KwaMashu is a location for the Black Community established in 1959, and it was established in terms of the Black Authority Act in 1951.
The area was a sugar cane plantation field and was owned by Marshall Campbell. The Township was named after him as KwaMashu.
This area was initially designed for the population that was forcefully removed from Emkhumbane (Cator Manor) by the Group Areas Act. Houses were erected in phases and occupied by blacks in March 1958.
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