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Indian Indentured Labourers Suffered Inhumane Conditions

A new research investigation has uncovered the traumatic and inhumane conditions faced by Indian indentured labourers in South Africa. Latashia Naidoo, an award-winning journalist and 2020 Open Society Foundation Global Investigative Journalism fellow at Wits University, completed a year-long research project into the atrocities of Indian indentured labour.

Indian indentured
A memorial of remembrance dedicated to the Indian indentured labourers at the Mount Edgecombe Mariamman Temple based in the north coast of KwaZulu Natal.

The labour system devised by the British was a system and a form of debt bondage for the indentured labourers. The displacement of 3.5 million Indians packed aboard ships destined for various colonies of British imperialism was a vehicle to invest in labour primarily for sugar plantations.

By piecing together depositions, medical reports, witness statements and other documentation from the past, Naidoo uncovered horrific stories of abuse, murder, rape and other forms of violence.

The indentured Indian labour system began at the end of slavery in 1833 and flourished until 1920 which contributed to a large concentration of Indians across the world. However, South Africa boasts the largest concentration of Indians outside of India tallying up to 1,5 million people of Indian-origin based in the African country.

Listen to the SABC Newsbreak podcast here,

Source inputs: Newsbreak Lotus

Showcasing the identity of the South African Indian as we remember the story of the arrival of Indian-indenture 160 years ago to the shores of South Africa. The SA Indian community of South Africa are uniquely African and so are their stories. Submit your piece of history to us for a feature click here

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