Kill Your Darlings: How Should a City be?

I’m super pleased to have this essay published in Killing Darlings No. 17, alongside some very talented writers. You’ll have to pay for a copy of the journal to read the full essay, but here is a very short preview:

Nelson Mandela died last night and Durban fell quiet. This morning in Warwick Junction, a patchwork of markets jostling against the CBD, the quiet has given way to work. Traders sell neatly arranged punnets of tomatoes and barrowmen push carts stacked with produce. Bead sellers sit beside their wares, threading small glass beads into intricate patterns. Women polish balls of lime clay so they glow white.

On television and online, Mandela’s death is sweeping across the world. Here in Durban, no businesses are closed, no crowds have yet gathered to mourn. Customers and traders exchange sad shakes of the head and murmur words of loss.

Grief is deep but life presses on.

South Africa has come a long way in the last twenty years, but still has far to go. Part of the nation’s future progress will rely on how it builds its cities, in part because those cities still bear apartheid scars. Politically and socially much has changed, but the very fabric of cities such as Durban must change too. A new Durban is emerging, but what should it look like? How will it work? And for whom?


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