A Guide to Glenwood Street Names: Manning/Lena Ahrens Road
Glenwood’s streets reflect the character of the neighbourhood- stately and historic, yet inviting and inclusive. These characteristics are also embodied by the names of its streets, which, through various cycles of change have reflected the ways in which Glenwood, Durban, and indeed South Africa as a whole have transformed throughout their histories.
Ignoring the controversies that have accompanied the renaming processes, the Glenwood Collective will, over the following weeks, examine the names of our streets, both old and new. With the help of historian and Glenwoodian Dr. Annie Devenish, we will explore the individuals and families honoured on Glenwood’s street signs and assess their influence on local and national history.
These summaries are far from complete biographies, and we encourage you to pursue your own reading on the subject.
Manning Road/Lena Ahrens Road
One of Glenwood’s longest streets, Manning/Lena Ahrens Road runs from Berea Road south-west to Rick Turner Road and Glenmore. One of the neighbourhood’s lushest streets, it skirts Bulwer Park and incorporates a significant section of Glenwood’s Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (D’MOSS) corridor.
Manning Road is also one of Glenwood’s oldest streets. When the area was divided in 1856 and the sites were sold on a leasehold basis, existing roads were named after the original resident tenants who had lived in the area. Manning Road was named for the Manning family who had lived nearby and had helped clear the original road.
Lena Ahrens was raised at St Philomena’s Orphanage in Rippon Road, Sherwood, Durban. She studied child psychology and law, subjects which she put to good use in her career as a political activist for the ANC and the United Democratic Front (UDF) – an umbrella movement which played an important role in mobilising communities in the 1980s against apartheid. Ahrens helped to organise hunger strikes against apartheid structures, campaigned for access to affordable housing, and was an active member of the women’s struggle. She supported peaceful negotiations after the unbanning of the ANC and PAC in 1990 and worked to expose drug dealers and corrupt police officers in the Syndenham area. Tragically, in 2001 Ahrens was shot by a fellow taxi passenger after leaving Umlazi. She later died in St. Augustine’s Hospital. During the initial street renaming campaign the road was mistakenly signed as ‘Lina Arense Road’, but this has since been rectified.