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Indian South Africans are
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
ns who descend from indentured labourers and migrants who arrived from
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The majority live in and around the city of
Durban Durban ( ) ( zu, eThekwini, from meaning 'the port'), nicknamed ''Durbs'',Ishani ChettyCity nicknames in SA and across the worldArticle on ''news24.com'' from 25 October 2017. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
, making it one of the largest "Indian" populated cities outside of
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
. As a consequence of the policies of
apartheid Apartheid (South African English South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English language dialects native to South Africans. History British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * B ...

apartheid
, ''Indian'' (synonymous with ''Asian)''https://krieger.jhu.edu/research-opps/wp-content/uploads/sites/86/2015/06/Lee-Jennifer.pdf is regarded as a race group in South Africa.


Racial identity

During the colonial era, Indians were accorded the same subordinate status in South African society as Blacks were by the white minority, which held the vast majority of political power. During the period of
apartheid Apartheid (South African English South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English language dialects native to South Africans. History British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * B ...

apartheid
from 1948 to 1994, Indian South Africans were called and often voluntarily accepted, terms which ranged from "Asians" to "Indians", and were legally classified as being members of a single racial group. Some Indian South Africans believed that these terms were improvements on the negatively defined identity of "Non-White", which was their previous status. Politically conscious and nationalistic Indian South Africans wanted to show both their heritage and their local roots in South Africa. Increasingly they self-identified as "African", "South African" and, when necessary, "Indian South Africans". During the most intense period of segregation and apartheid, "Indian", "Asian", "Coloured" and "
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
" group identities controlled numerous aspects of daily life, including where a classified person was permitted to live and study. The "Indian" racial identity was created by both internal political movements that sought to consolidate support amongst the different Indian ethnicities in the face of discrimination; and the Apartheid government which strictly codified the physical and cultural boundaries between "race groups", and encouraged these group identities. As a result of these Apartheid rules, South Africans continue to identify themselves, and informally classify each other as, " blacks", "
whites White is a racialized classification of people and a skin color Afghan children with fair skin Human skin color ranges from the darkest brown to the lightest hues. Differences in skin color among individuals is caused by variation in p ...
", "
Coloureds Coloureds ( af, Kleurlinge or , ) are a multiracial Multiracial people are people of more than one race (human categorization), race or ethnicity. A variety of terms have been used for multi-racial people, including ''mixed-race'', ''birac ...
" and "Indians". Despite having a presence in South Africa for more than 150 years, and being an officially recognized part of the population since 1961, Indians are still sometimes viewed as a foreign presence in the country, and find themselves having to justify their belonging to South Africa as a homeland.


History


Indentured labourers and Passenger Indians

The modern South African Indian community is largely descended from Indians who arrived in South Africa from 1860 onwards. The first 342 of these came on board the ''
Truro Truro (; kw, Truru) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and civil parishes in England, civil parish in Cornwall, England. It is Cornwall's county town, sole city and centre for administration, leisure and retail trading. Its ...
from
Madras Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...
'', followed by the ''Belvedere'' from
Calcutta Kolkata ( or , ; also known as Calcutta , List of renamed Indian cities and states#West Bengal, the official name until 2001) is the Capital city, capital of the Indian States and union territories of India, state of West Bengal. Located on ...

Calcutta
. They were transported as
indentured An indenture is a legal contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the require ...
labourers to work on the
sugarcane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, ...

sugarcane
plantations of
Natal Colony The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on 4 May 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans ...
, and, in total, approximately 200,000 Indians arrived as indentured labourers over a period of 5 decades, later also as indentured coal miners and railway workers. The indentured labourers tended to speak
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...

Tamil
,
Telugu Telugu may refer to: * Telugu language, a major Dravidian language of India *Telugu people, an ethno-linguistic group of India * Telugu script, used to write the Telugu language ** Telugu (Unicode block), a block of Telugu characters in Unicode ...
,
Bhojpuri Bhojpuri (;Bhojpuri entry, Oxford Dictionaries
, Oxford Uni ...

Bhojpuri
and the
Awadhi Awadhi (; अवधी; 𑂃𑂫𑂡𑂲) is an Eastern Hindi The Central Indo-Aryan languages or Hindi languages are a group of related language variety (linguistics), varieties spoken across North India and Central India. These language ...

Awadhi
dialect of
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, North India. Hindi has been described as a Standard la ...

Hindi
, and the majority were Hindu with Muslim and Christian minorities. Indians were imported as it was found by colonial authorities that local black Africans were economically self-sufficient, and thus unwilling to subject themselves to employment by colonial farmers, while other colonial authorities believed that the "hunting and warrior" African culture of the time was incompatible with a sudden shift to employed labour. The
Mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...
newspaper favoured the importation of labour, although other Natal newspapers were against the idea. In general, the importation of labour was not viewed as politically important by colonists when it was proposed, and the importation of Indian labour was driven by
lobbying In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of socia ...

lobbying
by a relatively small group of sugar planters, and the long-term consequences of Indian immigration (the establishment of a permanent Indian population in Natal) were not taken into account (by 1904, Indians outnumbered whites in Natal). Although 1860 is dated as the beginning of Indian settlement in Natal, a farmer called ER Rathbone was the first to introduce Indian labour to the colony in 1849. Indentured labourers on sugar plantations were frequently mistreated, and lived in unsanitary conditions. A large percentage of indentured labourers returned to India following the expiry of their terms, and some of those who returned alerted authorities in India to abuses taking place in Natal, which led to new safeguards being put in place before further recruiting of indentured labourers was allowed to take place. Former indentured labourers who didn't return to India quickly established themselves as an important general labour force in Natal particularly as industrial and railway workers, with others engaging in
market gardening A market garden is the relatively small-scale production of fruits, vegetables and flowers as cash crops, frequently Sales, sold directly to consumers and restaurants. The diversity of agriculture, crops grown on a small area of Landform, land, ...
, growing most of the vegetables consumed by the white population. Indians also became
fishermen A fisher or fisherman is someone who captures fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming t ...

fishermen
, and worked as clerks; in the postal service; and as court interpreters. The remaining Indian immigration was from ''passenger Indians'', comprising traders and others who migrated to South Africa shortly after the indentured labourers, paid for their own fares and travelled as
British subject The term "British subject" has several different meanings depending on the time period. Before 1949, it referred to almost all citizens of the British Empire (including the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern ...
s. These immigrant Indians who became traders were from varying religious backgrounds, namely Hindu and
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
s but largely from
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Gujarat
(including
Memons The Memon ethnic group originated in the Northwestern part of ancient India, currently the Sindh region of modern-day Pakistan. The majority of the Memon people around the world follow the Hanafi fiqh of Sunni Islam. The Memon people have cultura ...
and Surtis), later joined by Kokanis, and
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...

Urdu
speakers from
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...

Uttar Pradesh
. The Muslims played an important part in the establishment of
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
in the areas where they settled. Indian traders were sometimes referred to as "
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
traders" because of their dress, and because large numbers of them were Muslim. Passenger Indians, who initially operated in Durban, expanded inland, to the
South African Republic The South African Republic ( nl, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek; the ZAR; also known as the Transvaal Republic, af, Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek) was an independent republic A republic () is a form of government A government is t ...
(Transvaal), establishing communities in settlements on the main road between
Johannesburg Johannesburg (, also ; ; Zulu language, Zulu and xh, eGoli ), informally known as Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold", is the largest city in South Africa, classified as a Megacity#List of megacities, megacity, and is List of urban areas by ...

Johannesburg
and Durban. Natal's Indian traders rapidly displaced small white shop owners in trade with other Indians, and with black Africans, causing resentment among white businesses. Researchers have made efforts to collect and make available shipping lists of Indian immigrants.


Early discrimination (1860-1910)

Indians faced discrimination to varying degrees in all the parts of South Africa.


Natal

Indians faced repressive legislation in Natal. They were forced to carry passes in 1888. In 1893, M. K. Gandhi arrived in South Africa to represent an Indian businessman in a legal dispute. Following his arrival in South Africa, Gandhi experienced racial discrimination, and, following the proposal of legislation to restrict Indian voting rights in Natal, he helped organise resistance, leading to the formation of the
Natal Indian Congress 300px, Founders of the Natal Indian Congress; Gandhi is on the top row, fourth from left. The Natal Indian Congress (NIC) was an organisation that aimed to fight discrimination against Indians in South Africa. The Natal Indian Congress was foun ...

Natal Indian Congress
. This organised resistance led to the unification of disparate groups of South African Indians for the first time. Although the bill was defeated, it was successfully reintroduced in 1896.


Transvaal

The
South African Republic The South African Republic ( nl, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek; the ZAR; also known as the Transvaal Republic, af, Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek) was an independent republic A republic () is a form of government A government is t ...
government first instituted discriminatory legislation against Indians in 1885, which led to protests from the
British government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
, as the Indians were British subjects, and was used as one of the '''' for the
Second Boer War The Second Boer War ( af, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, lit. "Second Freedom War", 11 October 189931 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire and the two B ...
. Indians were banned from working in the mining industry, and areas were set aside for ''coolie locations'' in various towns in the Transvaal. Persons of colour could also not walk on sidewalks in the Transvaal. Following the end of the Second Boer War, the new colonial administration of the
Transvaal Colony The Transvaal Colony () was the name used to refer to the Transvaal region during the period of direct British rule and military occupation between the end of the Second Boer War The Second Boer War (11 October 189931 May 1902), also know ...
continued to maintain the same discriminatory practices against Indians.


Cape Colony

Passenger Indians who moved to the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Cro ...
, although facing petty discrimination, were generally well treated, could own property, could vote, and could trade freely. Many Muslim men in this group married Cape Malay women, and their children were later often classified as Cape Malay.


Orange Free State

Indians were prohibited by an 1891 statute from living in the
Orange Free State The Orange Free State ( nl, Oranje Vrijstaat, af, Oranje-Vrystaat, abbreviated as OVS) was an independent Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans-speaking colonist A settler is a person who ha ...
, then an independent
Boer Republic 500px, Boer Republics and Griqua people, Griqua states in Southern Africa, 19th century The Boer Republics (sometimes also referred to as Boer states) were independent, self-governing republics formed (especially in the last half of the nineteenth ...
, and this led to the almost total absence of Indians from the area, a situation that persisted into the apartheid era.


Union of South Africa (1910-1948)

Efforts to encourage Indians to repatriate to India included financial incentives, as well as discriminatory treatment. In December 1926, and January 1927, the
South African government The Republic of South Africa is a parliamentary republic with three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary, operating in a parliamentary system. Legislative authority is held by the Parliament of South Africa. Executive authority is ...
and Indian authorities had a Round Table conference where it was agreed that the Indian government would create a scheme for the repatriation of Indians, with the South African government agreeing to "uplift" the Indians who remained, monitored by an Indian government Agent. However, fewer Indians than expected repatriated, and racial tensions continued to simmer between Indians and whites, into the 1940s.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270051138_Colours_Do_Not_Mix_Segregated_Classes_at_the_University_of_Natal_1936-1959


Apartheid (1948-1994)

The
Durban riots The Durban riots were an anti- Indian pogrom that took place between 13–15 January 1949, primarily by African people targeting Indians in Durban Durban ( ) ( zu, eThekwini, from meaning 'the bay'), nicknamed ''Durbs'',Ishani ChettyCity ni ...
was an anti-Indian riot predominantly by Zulus targeting Indians in Durban, South Africa in January 1949. The riots resulted in the massacre of mostly poor Indians. In total 142 people died in the riots and another 1,087 people were injured. It also led to the destruction of 58 shops, 247 dwellings and one factory. Discriminated against by
apartheid Apartheid (South African English South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English language dialects native to South Africans. History British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * B ...

apartheid
legislation, such as the
Group Areas Act Group Areas Act was the title of three act of parliament, acts of the Parliament of South Africa enacted under the apartheid government of South Africa. The acts assigned racial groups to different residential and business sections in urban area ...
, applied in 1950, Indians were forcibly moved into Indian
townships A township is a kind of human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings g ...
, and had their movements restricted. They were not allowed to reside in the
Orange Free State Province The Province of the Orange Free State ( af, Provinsie Oranje-Vrystaat), commonly referred to as the Orange Free State ( af, Oranje-Vrystaat), ''Free State'' ( af, Vrystaat) or by its abbreviation OFS, was one of the four provinces of South Africa f ...
, and needed special permission to enter or transit through that province. They were also, as a matter of state policy, given an inferior education compared to
white South Africans White South Africans ( af, Blankes/Europeërs) refers to South Africans of primarily Demographics of Europe, European descent. In Natural language, linguistic, cultural, and historical terms, they are generally divided into the Afrikaans-speaki ...
br>The effects of apartheid’s unequal education system can still be felt today
The Asiatic Land Tenure and the Indian Representative Act of 1946 were repealed. The
Population Registration Act, 1950 The Population Registration Act of 1950 required that each inhabitant of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 milli ...
initially defined Indians as being part of the
Coloured Coloureds ( af, Kleurlinge or , ) are a multiracial people, multiracial ethnic group Indigenous peoples of Africa, native to Southern Africa who have ancestry from more than one of the various populations inhabiting the region, including Khoi ...
population. In 1961, Indians were officially recognised as permanent part of the South African population, the Department of Indian Affairs was established, with a white minister in charge. In 1968, the South African Indian Council came into being, serving as a link between the government and the Indian people. The
University of Durban-Westville The University of Durban-Westville (UDW) was a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards ac ...
(now part of the
University of KwaZulu-Natal The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is a university with five campuses in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It was formed on 1 January 2004 after the merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. ...
) was built with a Rand-for-Rand contribution from Indian South Africans and the government in the 1970s. Before that, Indian students had to take a ferry to Salisbury Island's abandoned prison, which served as their university. Casual racist expressions were used during the years of apartheid. Indians in South Africa were (and sometimes still are) referred to by the racial epithet '
coolie A coolie (also spelled koelie, kuli, cooli, cooly, or quli) is a low-wage laborer, typically of Asian descent. The term is considered outdated and offensive. The word ''coolie'' was first popularized in the 16th century by European traders a ...

coolie
'. In 1968, the
South African Indian Council The South African Indian Council was a body created by the apartheid-era South African government in 1968 to make recommendations to the government about matters affecting Indians. It was the first time that Indians were granted any sort of repre ...
(not to be confused with the anti-apartheid
South African Indian Congress The South African Indian Congress (SAIC) was an organisation founded in 1921 in Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demograph ...
which had the same initials) was created by the government, and in 1974, the council was reconstituted to allow for 50% of its members to be elected by Indians. The Council did not enjoy much support, for example, in 1981, only 6% of eligible voters participated in elections for the council. In 1983, the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
was reformed to allow the
Coloured Coloureds ( af, Kleurlinge or , ) are a multiracial people, multiracial ethnic group Indigenous peoples of Africa, native to Southern Africa who have ancestry from more than one of the various populations inhabiting the region, including Khoi ...
and Indian minorities a limited participation in separate and subordinate Houses of a
Tricameral Parliament The Tricameral Parliament, officially the Parliament of the Republic, was the legislature of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of Sout ...
, a development which enjoyed limited support and very low voter turnouts. The Indian house was called the House of Delegates. Some aspects of Indian life were regulated by this house, including education. The theory was that the Indian minority could be allowed limited rights, but the Black majority were to become citizens of independent homelands. These separate arrangements were removed by the negotiations which took place from 1990 on to provide all South Africans with the vote.


Post-apartheid


Post-apartheid politics

Many Indians played an important role in the anti-apartheid struggle and some occupied positions of power in post-apartheid South Africa. In post-apartheid South Africa, Indians have maintained prominent positions in the ruling
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is a social-democratic political party in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of ...
.
Amichand Rajbansi Amichand Rajbansi (14 January 1942 – 29 December 2011) was a South African politician. He was a former Chairman of the Ministers' Council of the House of Delegates of South Africa, House of Delegates Tricameral Parliament, Tricameral parliament ...

Amichand Rajbansi
's Minority Front (formerly the ''National People's Party'') retained some support in its strongholds. However, after Rajbansi's death in 2011, the party failed to win any seats in the national assembly following the 2014 general election. Indians who were citizens before 1994, and thus discriminated against by the apartheid system, are considered ''black'' for the purposes of Employment Equity; that is, they are classified as having been disadvantaged under apartheid. They are thus eligible for "affirmative action" and
Black Economic Empowerment Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is an integration programme launched by the South African government The Republic of South Africa is a parliamentary republic with three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary, operating in a par ...
allocations.


Post-apartheid immigration from South Asia

Following the end of apartheid, a new wave of South Asian immigration commenced from India, Bangladesh and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...
, paralleling the movement of Africans from the diaspora and neighbouring African countries to the post-apartheid South Africa. These recent migrants are usually not regarded as being part of the Indian community, although they often live in traditionally Indian areas. Among these post-apartheid immigrants, the controversial
Gupta family The Gupta family is a wealthy Indian-born family with business interests in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 m ...
from India, managed to acquire vast political and economic influence in a short time, under the reign of former President
Jacob Zuma Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (; born 12 April 1942) is a South African politician who was the fourth president of South Africa The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is t ...

Jacob Zuma
.


Before European settlement, and Dutch slavery in the Cape

Traders from India may have been active on the eastern coast of South Africa for centuries, including before the Dutch settlement of the Cape Colony in 1652. A significant proportion of slaves imported into the Cape were from parts of India. While South African scholars mistakenly assumed these slaves were bought in "slave markets", many of the slaves were victims of kidnapping. Many slaves had no identity as Indians and were subsumed into the "
Cape Coloured Cape Coloureds () are a South African ethnic group composed primarily of persons of mixed race. Although Coloureds form a minority group within South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernm ...
" and
Cape Malay Cape Malays () also known as Cape Muslims or Malays, are a Muslim community or ethnic group in South Africa. They are the descendants of enslaved and free Muslims from different parts of the world who lived at the Cape during Dutch Cape Colony, ...
communities. White
Afrikaners Afrikaners () are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can i ...
also may have some Indian slave ancestry, an example of this being former
State President The State President of the Republic of South Africa ( af, Staatspresident) was the head of state of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics o ...
F.W. de Klerk, who revealed in his autobiography that one of his ancestors was a female slave called ''Diana of Bengal''. There is no reference to the real names of these Indians and were given "Christian" names for convenience. This all contributed to the loss of identity similar to the Mozambicans and other slaves who were brought to the Cape. Indian slaves who were Muslim became part of the
Cape Malay Cape Malays () also known as Cape Muslims or Malays, are a Muslim community or ethnic group in South Africa. They are the descendants of enslaved and free Muslims from different parts of the world who lived at the Cape during Dutch Cape Colony, ...
community after they were freed, initially adopting the
Malay language Malay (; ms, bahasa Melayu, links=no, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Weste ...
, and then Afrikaans. An early Indian to settle in South Africa was Kalaga Prabhu, a
Goud Saraswat Brahmin Gaud Saraswat Brahmins (also Goud or Gawd) are a Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way ...
merchant from
Cochin , settlement_type = Metropolis in the background A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or int ...

Cochin
. He was the foremost among the Konkani merchants in Cochin (modern day Kochi in Kerala). As punishment for conspiring with the Mysorean Muslim king
Hyder Ali Hyder Ali, ''Haidarālī'' (c. 1720 – 7 December 1782) was the Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun (from Latin Latin (, or , ) i ...

Hyder Ali
to overthrow the king of Cochin, Kalaga Prabhu and his son Chorda Prabhu were arrested by the Dutch and exiled with their families for life to the
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
in 1771. No further record of this individual and his descendants if any exists.


Religion

Almost all South African Indians are either Hindu, Muslim, or Christian. There are also small groups of
Parsis Parsis () or Parsees ( in the ) are an of the whose religion is . Their ancestors migrated to the region from following the in the 7th century . They are the first of two such to have done so, with the other being , who migrated to the ...
,
Sikhs Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ', ) are people who adhere to Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century '' by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, 1882: Muhammad XII surrenders to Ferdinand and Isabella The 15th ...
, and Buddhists. The majority of
South African Muslims South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
are Indian or belong to the multi-ethnic community in the Western Cape. The proportion of Indian South Africans following Hinduism has decreased from 50% in 1996 to 47.27% in 2001. This further decreased to 41.3% in 2016, mainly due to the conversion of "Hindus into Christians" by the Christian missionaries.


Education

Like Coloureds, until the end of Apartheid, Indian children largely attended segregated Indian government schools, which were administered nationally, and wrote separate matriculation examinations. Until 1991, state government schools taught in English, with the choice of one of five Indian languages, namely Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu to be taken as non-examination subjects. But, the languages were dropped from state run schools. The national council for eastern languages have requested the government to teach these five languages. The provincial government agreed to allow these languages to be taught in KwaZulu-Natal. These languages can be chosen as third language up to final year of school.


Languages


South African Indian English

English is the first language of most Indian South Africans. Indians first began to arrive in South Africa between 1860-1911, when over 150,000 Indians were allowed into Natal, mainly for cheap work on plantations. From the 1950s on, English came to be taught to Indian children in schools, leading to
language shift Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community Arnold Lakhovsky, ''The Conversation'' (circa 1935) A speech community is a group of people who share a s ...
taking place, with English becoming the first language of the majority. Because these children were separated by apartheid from British children, their English developed in very different ways from
South African English South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English language dialects native to South Africans. History British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or B ...
. In recent decades, the dialect has come much closer to the standard language through the model taught in schools. The result is a variety of English which mixes features of
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
, South African, Standard British, creole, and foreign language learning Englishes in a unique and fascinating way.


Current status of Indian languages

A minority, especially older people, are fluent in their ancestral Indian languages such as Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Odia, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Hindi, Telugu, Urdu and others as a first language or second language. In some small towns in the former Transvaal, Afrikaans is used as a first language by older Indians. Almost all younger people use English and the compulsory second language taught at school, such as Afrikaans or Zulu for day-to-day communication. As a result of promotion by cultural organisations, or the influence of Indian cinema industries, many younger Indians can understand (but not usually speak) Indian languages to a limited degree. Recent immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have maintained fluency in their mother tongues.


Cuisine

dishes are popular in South Africa among people of all ethnic origins; many dishes came to the country with the thousands of
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
labourers brought to South Africa in the nineteenth century. South African Indian cuisine adapted to local ingredients, and dishes include a variety of curries, rotis,
sweetmeat Confectionery is the Art (skill), art of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Exact definitions are difficult. In general, though, confectionery is divided into two broad and somewhat overlapping ...
s,
chutney A chutney is a Spread (food), spread in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Chutneys are made in a wide variety of forms, such as a tomato relish, a ground peanut Garnish (food), garnish, yogurt or curd, cucumber, spicy coconut, spicy on ...
s, fried snacks such as
samosa A samosa () is a fried or baked pastry Pastry is a dough of flour Kinako Flour is a powder A powder is a dry, bulk solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid, gas and plasma ...

samosa
(called ''samoosa'' in South Afric
Samoosas
and other savoury foods.
Bunny chow Bunny chow, often referred to simply as a bunny, is a South African cuisine, South African fast food dish consisting of a bread bowl, hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry. It originated among Indian South Africans of Durban. A sma ...
, an Indian dish from Durban, consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, forms part of mainstream South African cuisine and has become quite popular.


Media and entertainment

Although Indian languages are seldom spoken or understood by younger Indians, English-Subtitle (captioning), subtitled Indian films and television programmes remain popular among South African Indians. These are broadcast both by the DStv satellite television service, which carries Zee TV, B4U (network), B4U, NDTV, and a Hindi-language Sony Entertainment Television Asia, Sony channel. In addition, Tamil language, Tamil–language channels, Sun TV (India), Sun TV and KTV, were introduced in 2004. The largest website dedicated to Indian South Africans i
Indian Spice
It publishes news in all aspects of public life that affect the South Asian community in Southern Africa (including Mauritius and Kenya) and conducts journalistic investigations of its own into matters of criminal, political and social interest through its subsidiary Kali. DVD, and previously, Video cassette recorder, video versions of Bollywood films are widely available. Large cinema chains like Ster-Kinekor began showing Bollywood films by the early 2000
Bollywood comes to South Africa
Indian culture in South Africa has some similarities to the worldwide ''Desi'' subculture, however, South African Indians developed a distinctive musical and literary culture of their own, which was to some extent eclipsed by the global Bollywood/Desi culture in the 1990s and 2000s. The slang term ''charou'' (various spellings) is often used by Indians, particularly in the Durban area, to refer to themselves. Card games, in particular, the trick-taking card game Thunee (similar to Twenty-eight (card game), Twenty-eight) are popular among South African Indians. Radio Hindvani is a community radio station based in Durban and is aimed at the promotion of Hindi culture and language amongst South Africans. The station's frequency reaches Durban and all surrounding areas. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) also has an Indian-oriented radio service called Lotus FM, launched during the apartheid era. SABC 3 is also known to show a Bollywood movie on Sunday afternoons. The ''Sunday Times (South Africa), Sunday Times'' has a supplement distributed in Indian areas called the ''Extra'', and the ''Sunday Tribune (South Africa), Sunday Tribune'' publishes a similar supplement, called the ''Herald''. A Bollywood section, 'Bollyworld' is published by the Daily News on Mondays.


Events

Among the major charity and cultural events in South Africa, organised every year by the local Indian community is the Gandhi Walk, which is the oldest event in South Africa commemorating Mahatma Gandhi. Held annually in Lenasia, south of
Johannesburg Johannesburg (, also ; ; Zulu language, Zulu and xh, eGoli ), informally known as Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold", is the largest city in South Africa, classified as a Megacity#List of megacities, megacity, and is List of urban areas by ...

Johannesburg
, it has been held 34 times. The Durban Festival of Chariots is organised annually at the beachfront by the ISKCON. The festival is attended by tens of thousands of people. In Lenasia a gala fund-raising banquet of the Saaberie Chishty Ambulance Service is held annually.


Notable Indian South Africans

* Frene Ginwala, journalist and politician * Hashim Amla, cricketer * Kader Asmal, activist * Amina Cachalia, activist * Yusuf Cassim, politician * Yusuf Dadoo, politician * Gopala Davies, actor, director * Arun Manilal Gandhi, activist * Ela Gandhi, activist * Kesaveloo Goonam, doctor, activist * Pravin Gordhan, politician * Haniff Hoosen, politician * Soromini Kallichurum, dean * Adhir Kalyan, actor * Ahmed Kathrada, politician * Vinesh Selvan, military historian, activist * Alan Khan, broadcaster * Keshav Maharaj, cricketer * Mac Maharaj, activist * Rashida Manjoo, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women * Riaad Moosa, comedian, doctor * Senuran Muthusamy, cricketer * Anand Naidoo, journalist * Jay Naidoo, activist * Kumi Naidoo, activist * Jailoshini Naidoo, actress * Billy Nair, politician * Ebrahim Patel, politician * Navi Pillay, jurist * Ravi Pillay, politician * Sagaren Pillay, rear-admiral * Anant Singh (producer), Anant Singh, producer * Luther Singh, footballer * Enver Surty, politician * Buddy Govender, footballer, karate-ka, historian * Leeanda Reddy, actor * Zakia Ahmed, radio personality * Vikash Mathura, radio, TV, stage & film personality * Sonny Venkatrathnam, activist * Maeshni Naicker, Actor * Madhushan Singh, Actor * Mishqah Parthiephal, Actor * Jayan Moodley, Producer, Director & Writer


See also

*Asians in Africa *Memons in South Africa *Tamil South Africans *Islam in South Africa


References


External links


Indian Diaspora in South Africa
from the Report of the High Level Committee on The Indian Diaspora (2001) of the Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin, Non-resident Indian and Persons of Indian Origin Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (India), Ministry of External Affairs of India
2001 Digital Census Atlas

History of Indian Settlement


{{Authority control Asian South African Ethnic groups in South Africa Indian diaspora in South Africa, South African people of Indian descent,