Durban in major facelift ahead of World Cup | india | Hindustan Times
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Durban in major facelift ahead of World Cup

Music spills out of a surfer bar and onto a clean-swept boardwalk, where a Muslim woman in a long veil negotiates the fare for a ride in a beaded Zulu rickshaw.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2010 13:58 IST

Music spills out of a surfer bar and onto a clean-swept boardwalk, where a Muslim woman in a long veil negotiates the fare for a ride in a beaded Zulu rickshaw.

Despite Durban's diverse sundowner crowd along the city's beaches, the rickshaw puller doesn't have far to go right now.

The walkway ends just about 200 metres (yards) away in an enormous sandpit, the beginning of nearly five-kilometre
(three-mile) long construction project to revamp the city's waterfront.

Hoping to soften the neighbourhood's image, the city has renamed Point Road as Mahatma Gandhi Road, after the Indian independence hero who lived in Durban as a young lawyer at the turn of the last century.

The $26 million improvements along the beach are part of a broader transformation that has seen a notorious dockside red light district turn into upmarket shops and condos.

When it's finished, the 15-metre-wide walkway will link the uShaka beach -- near the mouth of the harbour to Africa's
busiest port -- to the distinctive arch of the new Moses Mabhida Stadium, venue for seven World Cup matches, including a semi-final.

The renovations include building sleek, open-plan restaurants and shops, which will lie just below the sightlines of the waterfront hotels, a hodgepodge of art deco design and modernist blocks.