Tuesday, November 16, 2010

150 up

Today marks 150 years of Indians in South Africa, yes its been 150 years of us in the land that the white man claimed to be their's but was actually some other guys who he stole it from previously. Anyway it was on this very day that the SS Truro sailed into the Durban Harbour or beach... I dont know if we had a harbour back then, but like I said the ship arrived on this day 150 years ago from the motherland.

SS Truro

Anyway here's a little snippet on how things actually went down as I feel I wont do it justice expressing it in my words.

Two ships set sail from different parts of the Motherland. The Belvedere left Calcutta for Port Natal on 4th October 1860 and the Truro disembarked from Madras on the 12th October 1860. The first ship, the SS Truro arrived  on 16 November 1860 with 341 immigrants, whilst the Belvedere and other ships followed thereafter. They came as indentured labourers on many broken promises. The Indian nationals realized the term “indenture” was a philosophical term meaning bond or agreement . The code for slavery was locked in its expression in many ways. Bearing in mind that they were away from family and friends, once our brothers and sisters landed on this foreign soil they had to adjust to the conditions at hand. The majority in time returned to India. Those who stayed pursued under adverse conditions . They succeeded from adversary to advantage in that after 150 years today we emerged and produced legacy leaders, destiny carvers and history makers in this dispensation. We have become part and family of the Rainbow Nation.

Just to sit and think what these laborers had to go on is quite frightening, besides the false promises and being away from their families and on foreign soil, they had to work through 12 hours a day, 6 days a week or they didnt get paid. The living conditions we terrible and being away from India they werent getting the staple food they were used to, but still through all of this they fort on and the population grew. Slowly but surely more Indians came in from India for other reasons than working on the cane plantations, setting up business in the area's near the farms, selling spices and other things that were not readily available for Indians and thats how many Indian businesses grew.

My family were similar, 79 years ago my grandfather and his brother setup shop in Durban and from there it just grew, my dad and his brothers joined the business and it just got bigger unitl this year where most of them felt they've reached a good age to retire and hence we sold the business in town. You can read more about that here.

Indians helped shape South Africa into the country it is now, from laborers, to businessmen, to freedom fighters. They came in all shapes and sizes and most of them wanted to see this country succeed in unity. So we've got alot more to be thankful for than just curries & bunny chows. To see what so many have achieved in a country where people of colour were oppressed, it makes me proud to say that I am a South African Indian.

oh and I thought it would be nice to try and get #150th trending today in SA, and thanks to all my followers of all races it was done!

Number one baby!

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