Flip-flops and board shorts, all year? You betcha! That's why we love living and working in laid-back, sultry Durban! And to celebrate our gorgeous home town, MARIE ROCHER COPYWRITING has a new web banner with a Durban flavour. Its design is referenced from a vintage postcard, circa 1930, depicting two well-known Durban landmarks - the City Hall and the Post Office. 

Surf City
Durbs, as the locals call it, is South Africa's second biggest city (in terms of overall population) and has the busiest port in Africa. Situated on the East Coast of the country, Durban's warm, subtropical climate has cemented its place as the tourist 'playground of South Africa'. While other South African cities are gripped in the midst of a chilly winter, Durban remains gloriously balmy. The year-round warm climate, palm trees and many Art-Deco buildings give Durban somewhat of a Havana or Miami-like air...Durbs is - as the advertising slogan of Durban Tourism would have it - the warmest place to be!

Yacht Moll, Wilson's Wharf, Durban

Durban Post Office
In addition to fun in the sun, Durban has a fascinating past to explore. The smaller building, on the left hand side of the web banner, is the Durban Post Office. Designed by Phillip Dudgeon in 1882, it served as the town hall up until 1910. Here, in 1908, was the first meeting of the South African National Convention - in the aftermath of the bitterly contested and bloody South African Wars (Anglo-Boer Wars I and II, 1880-1881 and 1899-1902), the at times controversial and acrimonious Convention sought to unite two of Britain's South African territories, the Cape Colony and the Colony of Natal, with the two Boer Republics, the South African Republic (also known as the Transvaal) and the Orange Free State. South Africa as a unified country (if in name only) was born on 31 May 1910, when the Union of South Africa was finally declared. The Union was superseded in 1961 by the Republic of South Africa, when the nation left the British Commonwealth. 

Souvenir Postcard Marking the Union of South Africa, 1910

But that's not this Durban building's only historic moment - on 23 December 1899, following his escape from the Boers during the Second Boer War, Winston Churchill (then a young journalist) gave a rousing speech from its steps, demonstrating the oratory which was to propel him on to the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The building has housed the Central Durban Branch of the South African Post Office since 1910 and was declared a National Monument in 1976. 

Durban City Hall
Across the road from the Durban Post Office (to the right hand side in the web banner), you will find the Durban City Hall. This Neo Baroque-style building, designed by Stanley Hudson and completed in 1910, is a replica of the city hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Nowadays, it also houses a library, the Durban Art Gallery and the Natural History Museum (complete with Dodo and Egyptian mummy!). Once the most imposing building around, it's now dwarfed by numerous modern skyscrapers - despite this, though, the Durban City Hall remains an impressive landmark. Flanked by the beautiful Francis Farewell Gardens, it's a spot worth a visit. 

Durban City Hall, with the Cenotaph in the foreground
 (Image courtesy of tedchang.free.fr)

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