Congratulatory message by President Jacob Zuma on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa
It is a great honour and pleasure to congratulate the Indian community in South Africa on the 150th anniversary of their arrival in South Africa.
16 November 1860 saw the coming of the first group of Indentured Indians on the ship Truro. From this seemingly insignificant beginning, the Indian community has developed into an integral component of the South African peoples.
Their odyssey from slave to full and equal South African citizens is intertwined with the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa. Their entrepreneurial spirit, their perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds, their identification and involvement with our country’s pursuit for liberation has endeared them to our fellow citizens. The names of Dr Kesaveloo Goonam, Monty Naicker, Mac Maharaj and countless others will forever remain etched in our country’s soul.
They have played a vital role in making and shaping South African history. We cannot forget that one of the icons of the twentieth century, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was nurtured by this country. His notions of Satyagraha (passive resistance) and the equality of all human beings were forged in South Africa, where he served his apprentice as a Mahatma. These ideals influenced not only our own battle for equality, but resonated worldwide and are as important today as when first formulated. We are honoured that these ideas gave birth right here in South Africa.
The Indian community have become engrained within the South African landscape. South Africa has been enriched by the beauty of their cultures, the wisdom of their religions, and the generosity of their peoples. We are delighted that while they are distinctly Indian, they remain proudly South African. We look forward to working closely together with the Indian community to build a brighter and better future for all South Africans.