The Indian Community of South Africa - Love them or Hate them - They are here to Stay!

South Africa, for all its upheavals, its historical trials and tribulations, its conflicts, its treasures and wealth interspersed with the growing poverty, is still a beautiful country.

From a temperate climate to the rolling hills and her majestic mountains, from her diverse fauna and flora to the diversity of her people, South Africa is indeed a beautiful country.

The Indian community, whose migration onto these shores has been well documented - their progress and development has also been the subject of both praise and condemnation- depending on one's vantage point.

But there can be no argument that the generations born in this country since the arrival of those brave men and women - our forebears - who are merely reference points for our existence now - have become interwoven into the tapestry of a country that has benefitted from such a migration.

Once the "pariahs" of their adopted country, they are now fully-fledged and contributory citizens in a land they can call home.

Shoved and shunted by the powers that be, they never capitulated and their resilience is evident to this day.

Whether it was from enclaves of Lenasia to Laudium, from Rylands Estate to Cravenby Estate or simply from Chatsworth to Phoenix, the Indian community have chosen both the roads less travelled and the road most travelled to stamp their citizenry into the passport of South Africa.

No amount of oppression was strong enough or powerful enough to subdue the spirit of a people who were willed by an alluring destiny to become part of the future of a country drenched in differences and diversity.

While there are those who still prefer to view the Indian community as some sort of marauding interlopers bent on usurping the indigenousness of a land that belongs to all who live in it, it is impossible to extricate their invaluable contribution to the social fabric, the economic development and the general well-being of a South Africa reeling in the throes of an untimely degeneration.

Whether it are racial differences, ethnic differences, tribal differences, religious differences or any other forms of divisions that have been created to define South Africa and its people, the Indian community have trumped such differences into triumph and converted any point of difference into a point of deference.

South Africa is a community of one people and no amount of denigration or disparaging, by whomever, must be allowed to diminish the value of a community who have challenged, championed and cherished their citizenry to become the patriots of a South Africa that belongs to all.

The hallmark of their citizenry is evidenced by their phenomenal contributions in the financial, academic, educational, judicial, commercial and agricultural fields amongst many others, despite being manacled by the apartheid laws of the past and the present Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) enterprises.

Their resilience thus far has been nothing short of being praiseworthy.

Sadly, whether by compulsion, circumstance or convenience, many have departed the shores of their land of birth for the proverbial safe and greener pastures, but for those that remain, the ancestral roots of those that came before them will grow, and grow - and grow.

If we are to make South Africa into that land of milk and honey once again, then we must embrace each other as South Africans - our last names should not matter - any amount of perceived "foreignness" of a people who are bona fide South Africans must be removed from the psyche.

In the words of the song: "This land is your land, this land is my land...."


Narend Ganesh

Global Indian Series South Africa Correspondent


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