Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Azad Essa

Azad Essa
Azad Essa was brought up in the States—Durban's Clare Estate—balancing Hindi cinema, cricket and the Famous Five. A graduate of the Global Studies Programme, Azad now slaves away at the Industrial Organisational and Labour Studies Research Unit at UKZN as a researcher (in between freelance journalism and film-making). Azad remains elusive to the city. Durban hasn't quite understood what to make of him just yet.

In their chapter, Normalising life in Durban: Bringing people back to its streets, Azad and Ercüment Çelik draw from their frustrations (as local & international students) with crime and fear as ‘an obstacle towards having fun in this city.’ They write about how Durban's city centre is seen as a no go area by ‘the average middle class Durbanites,’ especially whites. While Indians may ‘man’ their businesses, there are few Indian pedestrians. Constructions of Durban city as dangerous are shared more widely at night: the city virtually shuts down. The paper raises questions about how to open up the city to everyone and reclaim the streets at night. It offers imaginative suggestions.

Çelik, Ercüment, and Essa, Azad. 'Normalising life in Durban: Bringing people back to its streets', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 235-242.