Jocelyn Sutherland’s hands are full of litter when she meets us at the gate to Hawaan Forest. She’s incensed by the dumping of bougainvillea on the edge of the forest’s perimeter fence, and by the litter. ‘Hardly any one local knows about this magnificent forest, ‘ she shares by way of greeting, ‘it is visitors to Durban who want to know more about it, not the locals.’
We’ve met just off the M4 at Umhlanga, one of Durban’s more privileged neighbourhoods on the north coast. The M4 divides the green forest belt in two, yet there couldn’t be two more divergent forests.
Across the M4 the forest rests on a 2 000 year-old sand dune. Sounds old enough but Hawaan, by contrast, stands sturdy on a sand dune that is 18 000 years old. It’s mind-boggling to think that something that old still exists… Continued