Humanities Academics at “From Indenture to Mandela and Freedom” Celebration
Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh of Criminology and Forensic Studies and Anthropology’s Dr Gerelene Jagganath attended the 10th Commemorative Celebrations of the 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation.
The foundation, based in Verulam, celebrated both its 10th anniversary and the centenary of the birth of former South African president Nelson Mandela by arranging a conference on indenture under the theme: From Indenture to Mandela and Freedom.
One of the main aims of the foundation is to preserve the history and heritage of indentured labourers who were brought from India to the then Colony of Natal between 1860 and1911.
November 15, 2018 marked the 158th anniversary of the arrival of the first shipload of 300 indentured labourers from India to the shores of KwaZulu-Natal. The year also marked birthday celebrations for Mandela.
Guest of honour, Minister of Public Enterprises Mr Pravin Gordhan, said Indians were suppressed alongside Blacks and Coloureds by the apartheid government. He stressed the need for social cohesion, saying it was one of the recipes the country required to move forward.
‘I think it’s important to reflect where we are as South Africans today, and celebrate our progress, sacrifices and our role in the Struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa,’ said Gordhan. ‘At the same time, we should reflect and celebrate the multiple identities that we have. We as South Africans are part of a rainbow nation.’
He outlined some of the critical events and stalwarts involved in the process of liberating South Africa from the tyranny of apartheid, the challenges facing South Africa and the monumental task of rooting out corruption.
Singh, who was part of the organising team, said ‘it is imperative that all South Africans understand the history of their country and the role played by all race groups’.
Words: Melissa Mungroo