Our stories

Fishers unite: Tozi story

Fishers unite: Tozi story

Masifundise played a big role because they taught us about our rights and to fight for them as fishers because we were discriminated and we were not allowed to fish anywhere at sea. A strange thing was that other races were allowed to fish or harvest mussels as much as they pleased without any problem or arrested
The treacherous South Pier: Snowy’s story

The treacherous South Pier: Snowy’s story

Back in the days the South Pier was a treacherous pier. One occasion I was with a friend of mine, Krish, and on that particular day this rogue wave was heading our way.
I got hooked: JP’s story

I got hooked: JP’s story

One of the most painful hazards of fishing is getting hooked – not just to the sport but by the actual fish hook. Anytime you go fishing there is a chance of getting yourself hooked.  It is just inherent in the sport. The only way to get help is to have a first aid kit in hand or someone trained in first aid, or both.  
A family that fishes together, stays together

A family that fishes together, stays together

Spending time together is one of the greatest gifts families can give to one another. Not only does quality time strengthen and build family bonds, but it also provides a sense of belonging for everyone in the family.
In a perfect world, fishing has no gender

In a perfect world, fishing has no gender

The fishing industry is often viewed as a male-dominated space, and in many ways it is. However, this does not deter women fisher folk like Layla from making her mark when she takes her rod and casts it out on the North pier.
The battle for the piers

The battle for the piers

“We pay for fishing licence and bait licence, and yet we are banned from the deep-water piers. We are fishing to eke out a living and we pray that the President will intervene on the fisher folk’s behalf and hear our cry, as our cries are falling on deaf ears,” explains a concerned Layla. 
A dwindling species: Tamlyn’s story

A dwindling species: Tamlyn’s story

I mean we’ve got a book where we record our species as a family and it’s like an on-going competition from years just to see who will catch the most species and ja, at one stage it just plateaued and now it’s stopped. There aren’t any different species.
Being outdoors: Monty’s story

Being outdoors: Monty’s story

My father taught me how to fish, ja he learnt to fish when he was younger. Him and his friends use to go and fish after school in the Umhlatuzana river.
Indigenous fishing: Thomas’ story

Indigenous fishing: Thomas’ story

As indigenous fishers we have our own ways of fishing that government is against, we make our own fishing grass basket (for handpicking fishing method) and we weave our own nets. Because of the changing times and things have developed, we now buy nets which are made in China, and that saves time because normally to weave a net can take up to a month.
The oppressed fisherman

The oppressed fisherman

An ocean full of fish is any fisher’s dream. At the peak of Apartheid, a black man could barely stand on the ocean shore line let alone fish. A fisher was not attacked for fishing without a permit, but for the colour of their skin and for being in a whites-only designated area.
Where have all the bait fish gone?: Grant’s story

Where have all the bait fish gone?: Grant’s story

We use to catch things a lot of fish like that off the Bluff, and you don’t see them anymore, things like Spratts you know your bait fish that the bigger fish come and feed on…they are just nonexistent anymore.
“The sea is my farm”: Roy’s story by Doung Jahangeer

“The sea is my farm”: Roy’s story by Doung Jahangeer

In September 2019 my family and I went on holiday with some friends to a small costal town called Umzumbe approximately 100 kilometres south of Durban.  When we arrived  we all clambered down the dune path to get our feet into the cool sand.  There the sea was calm and the sun was gentle.  In the distance I noticed two fishers fishing on the rocks.
Andre and William’s story: “You live by the sea; you die by the sea”

Andre and William’s story: “You live by the sea; you die by the sea”

You see we can’t live inland with the rest of the people. We go and live outside on the beach. That’s how we survive and what we can do. People come here for a week; they can’t survive like we survive.
Pele Moonsamy, a fisher to remember

Pele Moonsamy, a fisher to remember

Perumal (Pele) Moonsamy was a well-known fisher in and around Durban. Born in the 1952 Pele started fishing as a child when he was still at school. For the last 53 years Pele fished on the KwaZulu-Natal beaches from Umkomaas to Stanger.
Segregated: JP’s story

Segregated: JP’s story

We’ve been harassed with violence; Indian fishermen’s rods were broken. So apart from the assault and damage to our tackle, there was damage to our vehicles and derogatory words that they used against us, so it was really tough.
Fishing as a girl: Tamlynn’s story

Fishing as a girl: Tamlynn’s story

My father taught me to fish. I don’t know if I have an exact memory of the first time I ever fished, but we were fishing from small children. Every holiday was around where to go to fish.
A violation of the sea: Riaz’s story

A violation of the sea: Riaz’s story

Trawlers out there they put out a net, and you know it’s the wrong term and I’ve been told one too many times not to use this terminology, they are raping the sea.
Small Scale Fishers say NO! to seismic surveys for oil and gas on the Eastern Cape coast

Small Scale Fishers say NO! to seismic surveys for oil and gas on the Eastern Cape coast

Small scale fishers know the sea. Their relationships with the ocean are characterized by deep respect, intergenerational knowledge and sacred cultural connection.
An unusual catch: Tamlynn’s story

An unusual catch: Tamlynn’s story

One morning we went out fishing and on one of my first casts, I caught a big brown trout. As we just started pulling it in, Erhardt caught a brown trout as well. That’s like two in a row, it’s unheard of, and nice decent sized trout right after one another.
A fishing heritage in peril

A fishing heritage in peril

Passing on the fishing baton to instill a sense of identity and culture in his children, Mr. Mbhele has taught his children how to fish so that they could decide if fishing was a viable career path for them. Creating and leaving a legacy is important to him which is why he taught them everything he knows about fishing
Riaz’s close encounter

Riaz’s close encounter

Ja hey, I thought I had lost my life on the South Pier. My brother Razak was behind me, and he was busy winding his one-hundred-yard new line my mother bought him, I’ll never forget. It was a cold winter’s night and fishing was not good and we were genuinely numb, togged up properly you know, five, six jerseys inside, big boots and alles.
Erhardt: Tamlyn’s story

Erhardt: Tamlyn’s story

Erhardt is absolutely obsessed with fishing. He lives, breathes it; especially fly fishing in particular. He has loved fishing from childhood. He used to beg his father to buy him fishing gear, he would buy the magazines, get books on fishing; any resource that he could and he taught himself how to fish. And I can’t quite understand it or explain that kind of passion.
A brother’s bond: Riaz’s story

A brother’s bond: Riaz’s story

We hadn’t started fishing when my brother attempted to jump on the dolos but he jumped onto a sardine. He slid and he was gone. I promise you I don’t know whether it was tears or whatever, but all I could think of was how am I going to tell my mother. And then as we got down, I couldn’t see him.
The human chain: Snowy’s story

The human chain: Snowy’s story

The guy comes running to me, ‘hey Snow, my connection fell in, now between the pier.’ This guy is jammed in between the blocks and the pier, and there’s no way you can get to him, because when I came there with my head torch, I looked at how I’m going to get down there. I know there’s no way you can jump in there and get him…
The art of fishing: Riaz’s story

The art of fishing: Riaz’s story

People got to learn how to handle this and at the same time they knew what breaking strength that fish had. People would say you need heavy duty breaking strength but a South Pier fisherman will tell you listen, I don’t care. It’s how you control that fish.
Hook line and sinker: Snowy’s story

Hook line and sinker: Snowy’s story

Back in those days I started fishing out at the entrance of the Durban harbour. We used to travel to our fishing spot by train because there was no other means of transport to that area. It grew into a habit; every weekend we were away.