KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsWest Street Mosque
Where? West Street Mosque, 484 Dr Pixley Kaseme Street, Durban Central
Although popularly known as the West Street Masjid (masjid is Arabic for mosque), this beautiful Edwardian interpretation of a place of worship's full name is the Juma Masjid Sunnat Jamat Anjuman Islam, or Anjuman Islam Juma Masjid for short.
It was built by early Muslim settlers in 1885, primarily to serve Muslim immigrants from Surat and the neighbouring districts of India, just four years after the Grey Street Juma Musjid Mosque , Durban's first mosque.
Juma Musjid is Arabic for mosque of the congregation but the obvious similarity between the Grey Street and West Street mosques' names, means that visitors often get confused between the two.
West Street Mosque lies in an area of Durban abuzz with antique and furniture stores, its prominent tower jutting from between the buildings a landmark of the city. In similar fashion to the Grey Street Mosque it is a lively place of worship, particularly on Fridays, Ju'mua, Ramadaan, or the two days of Eid. It serves Muslim devotees from virtually every country in Africa who join in prayer on the carpets of the mosque, their shoes lined up outside.
There are five prayer times a day (times differ depending on the season) and the muezzin's call from the mosque tower invites believers to prayer. Muslim men from Nigeria, Malawi, Senegal, Congo, Kenya, Sudan, Egypt and Morocco meet at the mosque that plays a central role in their lives, particularly as most of them live or work in Albert Park, just around the corner.
Visitors will appreciate the design and architecture of this mosque that serves as an oasis in the downtown bustle of Durban. Mosque guides are there to show you around.
Note: parking can be an issue, although there are parkades close by. Expect crowds and be aware that it is not always safe in this part of town.