Tar­nish­ing the his­toric Cato Manor Tem­ple

Daily News - - VIEWS & ANALYSIS -

IT IS with deep dis­may and dis­tress that I write about de­vel­op­ments around the 100-year-old Cato Manor Hindu Tem­ple in Bel­lair Road, Dur­ban.

The tem­ple is si­t­u­ated within Cato Manor, which is a Pro­vin­cial Her­itage Land­mark and is gov­erned by Amafa Her­itage KwaZulu-Na­tal, the her­itage con­ser­va­tion agency.

I have been shocked to see that al­most the en­tire orig­i­nal struc­ture of the his­toric tem­ple has been torn down and re­placed by a mod­ern build­ing that will be mostly glazed.

All that re­mains of the old build­ing are the domes.

I am aware that the Cato Manor Hindu Tem­ple is a listed build­ing.

This means it is pro­tected and per­mis­sion must be sought be­fore any al­ter­ations can be car­ried out.

I would like to know whether con­sent was granted by Amafa for such ex­ten­sive ex­ten­sions that have to­tally al­tered the look and feel of the orig­i­nal struc­ture, which is hardly dis­cernible.

The Cato Manor Hindu Tem­ple was built by hum­ble, God-fear­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers as a place of wor­ship.

Thus it has strong as­so­ci­a­tion with peo­ple who con­trib­uted to the his­tory of Cato Manor.

This tem­ple stood not only as a place where spir­i­tual refuge was sought, but was also a mon­u­men­tal re­minder of all those gal­lant souls that have kept the tem­ple lamps burn­ing through tremen­dously try­ing times.

To erase all this his­tory with a de­mol­isher’s ham­mer is sad.

Many as­pects of the old tem­ple build­ing were do­nated or spon­sored by well-wish­ers who would not have ex­pected their benev­o­lence to be re­duced to dust.

This is an out­ra­geous state of af­fairs at a tem­ple which earned great re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion over a whole cen­tury.

In my opin­ion, the tem­ple will never be the same.

It is para­mount go­ing for­ward that our el­ders and re­li­gious lead­ers should never al­low such a sit­u­a­tion to pre­vail not only in this, but in any other tem­ple that has such a rich his­tory. DHAYALAN MOOD­LEY Mobeni Heights

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