Wentworth is a township of Durban, South Africa on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It is located completely inside an area known as the South Durban Basin. The Wentworth area is located near major freeways M4 and M7 is approximately 11 km south of the Durban City Centre.
Wentworth forms part of the South Durban Basin. Initiated in 1938 by British colonialists, the area’s original purpose was to serve as an army base. Due to the 1950 Group Areas Act Apartheid-era policy however, the region was split into districts depending on ethnic background. Today in fact, Wentworth is made up primarily of people who identify as “Coloured”—a term used in South Africa to distinguish someone of mixed ethnic background. The Group Areas Act was not unique to the South Durban Basin; it was a policy whose touch still can be seen in metropolitan and suburban areas all over the country today. The Bluff Nature Reserve on Tara Road divided (and for the most part continues to divide) Wentworth from the Bluff and thus the coloured population from the white one.
In the 1960s, Coloured people were relocated to the swampy unused land of Wentworth (also known as Austerville). The red brick buildings in this area, once occupied by white military families, were then converted into homes for the Coloured people. Affluent Coloured families were also allowed to purchase prime real estate on Treasure Beach, which was originally set aside for Coloured development. An area known as Happy Valley separates Treasure Beach from Tara Road and Wentworth. This bushland was the site of many informal settlements and tin shanties, but were soon demolished when the area’s largest oil refineries, Engen and SAPREF moved in 1952 and 1963. These two refineries still prove to be both physical and economic landmarks in the area today. Further down Tara Road and past Wentworth is an area known as Merebank: this is where Indians were relocated and where the population is still concentrated today. During this period of oppression, neither Coloured nor Indian people were allowed to move into the white regions. All in all, while Wentworth is a place where the effects of Apartheid policies remain visible, it is also a place where many different cultures have managed to survive, blend, and flourish.