Monday, May 7, 2007

Ebrahim Essa

Ebrahim Essa was born in Durban but was educated in India. In 1965, his father packed him into the 3rd class hold of the S.S. Karanja to Bombay with the explicit instruction of returning with a bride or a B.Sc degree. Ebrahim now preaches the power of physics to mostly unbelieving students and writes sporadically, but mostly when bored. He loves Durban for what it was, hates what it is, and is quite sure the current shabby transition stage is permanent.

In his chapter, Drawing the curtain: Indian cinema in the Grey Street Complex, Ebrahim provides a wonderfully dry and witty account of Indian life and culture in apartheid-era Durban. He focuses on Indian cinema, the kinds of movies shown, and the experiences of going to watch them. He notes the gendered and generational experiences of smoking: ‘men [in the audience] smoked away actively, the rest passively.’

Essa, Ebrahim. 'Drawing the curtain: Indian cinema in the Grey Street Complex', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 302-308.