SA prepares to mark Indians’ arrival in 1860

2010-11-16 00:00

A HOST of events have been organised across the country to commemorate the arrival 150 years ago today of the first shipload of Indian indentured labourers in South Africa.

The KwaZulu-Natal 1860 Commemoration Committee will be marking the occasion at the Durban harbour at 8 am today.

A small band of community, political and religious leaders will board a boat at the Sarie Marais jetty, Wilson’s Wharf, and retrace part of the journey of the Indian forefathers.

A multi-faith ceremony will be held at sea, preceded by an early morning inter-faith prayer session at the beach near Durban’s uShaka Marine World.

In Pietermaritzburg, the Umgungundlovu District Municipality 1860 Legacy Foundation will be holding a universal prayer and the launch of a time capsule. This will take place at Project Gateway (the Old Burger Street Prison).

The capsule will be left open for one year to enable interested individuals to deposit certified copies of original documents and family histories. It will be sealed on the same day next year and will remain unopened for 50 years. A future generation will open it on November 16, 2060, marking the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in SA.

The Consulate-General of India, Anil Sharan, will be the guest speaker at the opening of a commemorative exhibition at the Natal Museum today.

An exhibition entitled “The Spice of Life: Celebrating 150 years of Indians in South Africa”, will be on display at the museum over the coming months.

Indian cultural and religious communities will be holding ther own commemorations in the next few weeks.

The District Legacy Foundation has called on all South Africans to dedicate 150 minutes to community upliftment. It is encouraging extended families to work together on a project of their choice.

The 1860 Commemoration Council urges the public to light a lamp or candle at 7 o’clock this evening and say a prayer as a symbolic gesture to mark the historic occasion.

 

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