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Why CBD street is named after a pioneering activist

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Alliance Property Group will on March 6, 2018 auction what the auction house calls a flagship trophy property

Alliance Property Group will on March 6, 2018 auction what the auction house calls a flagship trophy property – the well-known Checkers Shoprite premises in the Durban CBD.

The building is at 424 Dr Pixley KaSeme Street. In 2008, the eThekwini municipality started a wide-ranging and controversial initiative which led to streets like West Street becoming Dr Pixley KaSeme Street.

Who was KaSeme and why was the street named after him?

For his time, the gifted young Zulu was a remarkable man, attaining educational heights few black South Africans could dream of at the turn of the 19th century, and starting a significant fight against oppression.

Born in 1881, he was one of the first black lawyers in South Africa, following a career path taken later by Nelson Mandela and now Cyril Ramaphosa.

KaSeme was also a founder and president of the ANC from 1930 to 1936.

He was born in Daggakraal, in what was then Natal, at a station of the American Zulu Mission.

At the age of 17, KaSeme was assisted by the American missionary initiative to leave South African to study in the United States, first at the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts and then Columbia University in New York.

In 1906, his fourth year at university, he was awarded the Curtis Medal, Columbia’s highest oratorical honour. Later the same year he was admitted to Oxford University to read for the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law.

KaSeme returned to South Africa in 1910, and began to practise in Joburg, where he became the driving force in the founding of the “Native Farmers Association of Africa”, aimed at encouraging black farm workers to buy land in the Daggakraal area.

Three years later the white government introduced the Natives Land Act of 1913, barring black people from owning land.

KaSeme was also instrumental in the founding of the ANC’s newspaper, Abantu-Batho, in 1912.

In the same year, KaSeme and two other lawyers educated abroad called a convention of black people in Bloemfontein to form the “South African Native National Congress”, a national organisation that would unify black groups from the separate provinces.

The body was renamed the African National Congress in 1923.

KaSeme was married to Harriet, a daughter of Zulu King Dinuzulu, and the couple had four sons and a daughter. He died in Joburg in 1951.

For more details about the 7600m² Dr Pixley KaSeme Street retail property to be sold by Alliance on March 6, 2018 at 11am at The Hilton Hotel, call John Lomas on 0832502713 or 0313127625 or see

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