Archive: Issue No. 121, September 2007

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Peter Machen launches Durban - A Paradise and its People
by Carol Brown

An exciting new book by journalist and artist Peter Machen about Durban was launched at the KZNSA Gallery in August. Durban - A Paradise and its People is a comprehensive full-colour coffee table book that deconstructs the city of Durban/eThekwini from a diversity of perspectives. Featuring 384 pages of sumptuous visuals and insightful content, the book is a true celebration of Durban, a city that, in the words of the author, is akin to paradise - even if it is a paradise that is filled with challenges.

Machen was commissioned by the eThekwini's Communications Department to produce this beautiful book. Machen has been writing about the city in local and national publications for the last decade. With Durban - A Paradise and its People, Machen has put all that knowledge, experience and love for his home town into a single volume that showcases one of the planet's most interesting cities.

Respondents in the book include Durbanites who have made their mark on the world's stage, as well as people who help to define the city's cultural landscape but of whom you have probably never heard. And so the spectrum of Durbanites in the book ranges from film producer Anant Singh and musician Joseph Shabalala, to the likes of Grey Street tailor Rajeen Ramdut and Danny Novela, a Mozambiquan artist who sells his beautifully crafted objects on the streets of the city and its suburbs.

The book includes much useful information for those not familiar with the city, and presents Durban as a hugely desirable location for all the right reasons. Yet it is most centrally a guide to the city for those who live here, introducing a kaleidoscopic world to those who may occupy just a single plane in the multifaceted jewel that is Durban/eThekwini.