For this week’s “Throwback Thursday” we take a look at the landmark commonly referred to as the “Ghost House” or “Haunted House” just up the north coast of Durban.
Gurusamy Veerasamy Naidu, a South Indian businessman and the first Indian to sail on the Queen Elizabeth II, came to Durban in the 1920s. He was a businessman. In the Casuarina Beach area, a few kilometers north of the Umdloti River, Mr. Naidu built the first house on his 100 acre property in 1926. Surrounded by Casuarina trees, and constructed out of wood, the single story dwelling had leaded, stained glass windows, elaborately decorated stained glass doors depicting ships at sea, with 6 bedrooms, 2 lounges, 2 kitchens and 2 full Victorian bathrooms as well as a roof garden.
The house was also the first in the area to feature electricity and lighting, as well as an early telephone. There was a pump for water and a power generator, which was across from what is now the M4 – All of this suggesting that Mr. Naidu, unlike his indentured labourer counterparts, led a luxurious life. Mr. Naidu held all his family gatherings at the house, and received many famous South Indian visitors through the years. The beach in front of the house became known and referred to as GV’s Channel.
For some unknown reason Mr. Naidu returned to India, leaving his then renovated double story home to his family, who did not occupy the property.
A shadow of its former self, the once palatial home has fallen to ruin over the years of abandonment. Vandals have painted graffiti on the entire house, giving it a unique sense of derelict charm, while the informal settlers have utilized every bit of salvageable material to build their shack dwellings in a nearby township over the years.
The remains still hold memories for G.V Naidu’s family who do not want to sell the land, due to the sentimental value, family history and memories.
In more recent times the property has been the set of many a photo shoot and film, with the best known being films being “The Heart of The Matter” in the 1980’s.
It is still safe to view and explore the property, situated beside the M4 to Ballito, and right next door to the trendy Beach Bums bar, with parking and security a-plenty. It’s a wonderful experience, and a unique photo opportunity that one doesn’t find anywhere else.