Dreamy South Africa. The breathtaking views and changing scenery. With its history and alluring destinations, South Africa is bound to be on any travelers list. It is the southernmost country in Africa whose population is 80 percent Sub-Saharan African ancestry speaking more than a dozen different languages. One of the most developed countries in all of Africa, it is partly bordered with the open waters of the Indian and South Atlantic Ocean.
South Africa has the largest population of people of Indian descent in the continent. Majority of them lives in the city of Durban, many of which are great-grandchildren of the original Indian migrants from colonial India who, in 1860’s, came to South Africa. For a long time, the history of Indians in South Africa was that of shame, as the first Indians to come were indentured labourers. That is, agreeing to work for a number of years to learn a skill, for which they were paid next to nothing. Then came apartheid which didn’t make matters any better for them.
Now, with new available technology and more intensive research plus access to records, people can look up where they originally came from and not just stop at when the ships came to South Africa with the first Indians. They can be more than what indenture and apartheid for a long time has limited them to. They are able to learn of where they really came from and trace their heritage.
The South African Indian diaspora has changed with history. The majority of us came as indentured labourers. Colonialism was the first thing we grew as part of. When indenture was abolished, there was apartheid. So we grew with apartheid. We lived under the apartheid regime, not as a white population; we were seen as part of the black population. A lot of us still remember the time when there was no equality.
It’s only after Nelson Mandela was elected as president (in 1994) that South African Indians saw themselves as a diaspora that is not part of some horrible subjugation in history. – Zainab Priya Dala, speaking with Quartz
From this they can decide to be what they once were looking their roots up and developing to what they envision their futures to be. As bleak as their past was, South African Indians have managed to hold on to their roots, but barely. Their religion, language and their cuisine in particular have stayed true to their origins. People are developing a liking to these flavours as can be observed in most South African grocery stores, whose shelves are lined with elements and ingredients of the typical curry and other Indian specialties.
South Africa by large is on the upswing and it continues to be so in the foreseeable future. After all it has been through, it is undergoing a social transformation and a definite plan at creating a better future for everyone.