Books under the trees was a novel themeon Sundayas several hundred book lovers descended on Mitchell Park for the first Durban Book Fair.
It was the brainchild of the Mitchell Park Trust which partnered with #HashtagBooks to encourage reading especially among children.
A dozen writers, book dealers and artists set up stands to welcome eager families who streamed into the park as the gates opened.
The book fair was dedicated to Madiba marking the centenary of his birth. A huge portrait of the former president adorned the entrance to the iconic bandstand forming the ideal backdrop for selfies.
The event was ceremonially opened by 90-year -old freedom struggle veteran Swaminathan Gounden who was recently conferred the Order of Luthuli by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Gounden's connection with the park is that his father Karuppa was the mahout on Nellie the elephant who gave rides to children in the 1920s and 1930s. "This is a kind of homecoming for me as we have a deep connection with these footpaths and the zoo," said Gounden who regaled people with stories about the old Durban.
After Gounden's father's death in a train accident in 1934, his brother RK took up a job as a ticket seller as the Mitchell Park kiosk so that the family could keep their accommodation in the municipal workers' compound at Magazine Barracks. His brother had to be pulled from Sastri College. The school was named after the Indian Agent-General, Sir VS Srinivasa Sastri who had arranged Nellie as a gift from the Maharaja of Mysore to the people of Durban.