MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 45
Article views: 3370
Latest Badges:

View all Chriso's badges.

Anti-Indian resentment

08 July 2014, 05:00

One of the most far-reaching effects of Apartheid was the role it played in generating extreme economic inequality between race groups in South Africa. Not only does South Africa have among the highest levels of inequality in the world, this inequality is strongly racial in nature. Recently we have seen the re-emergence of interracial resentment which has been largely reported as blacks vis-a-vis white on the one hand and intra-blacks resentment on the other.

The most salient and dangerous element of the intra-blacks resentment is what has become known as the ‘anti-Indian’ resentment which is said to be on the rise. It is my argument that we have not seriously addressed the political economy of this phenomenon accordingly the manner in which we try to address this despotic tendency becomes inadequate and will not yield the desired results but may rather perpetuate and entrench it. 

In KwaZulu Natal (KZN), for an example, a group calling itself Mazibuye African Forum has called for the "liberation of KwaZulu-Natal from Indians”. The group is advocating for some “Indian-owned land” to be distributed to Africans and for “Indians to lose their BEE status”, among other things.

In an attempt to trace the origins of this backward tendency Andile Mgxitama, in the Mail & Guardian, traces the anti-Indian sentiments to the landing of the Gupta plane at Waterkloof airbase. He argues that the “Gupta’s display” the “most vulgar way” that shows that Africans suffer from “self-hatred”.

One would imagine that Mgxitama’s argument is that this tendency rides on the bandwagon of African “self-hatred” and “Indian” arrogance as displayed by the Gupta plane landing at Waterkloof airbase. As to how the Gupta saga is evidence of African self-hate can only be imagined by Mgxitama.

In my view, the so called African-Indian acrimony can be traced back to the 1950s. In 1949, public rioting against Indians engulfed the city of Durban and its surrounds, even threatening to spread to Mahatma Gandhi’s experimental ashram of non-violence in Phoenix. In 1951, a young Nelson Mandela wrote of his personal doubts and those of his fellow African nationalists towards South African Indians.

“Many of our grassroots African supporters saw Indians as exploiters of black labour in their role as shopkeepers and merchants,” he said. Mandela’s assertion is valid today!

Very recently we have been inundated with stories of Gandhi’s passionate bigotry towards black Africans. It is said he promoted racial hatred, in theory, and campaigned for racial segregation, in practice. In his newspaper, The Indian Opinion, it is said he frequently wrote diatribes against the black community. Of particular concern to him was any contact between Indians and Africans.

To substantiate the claim, one quote attributed to Gandhi goes; “Under my suggestion, the Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly. I think it is very unfair to the Indian population” (1904).

I can still remember in the 1985, while 13 years old, during the protests against the Tricameral Parliament attacks against Indian settlements were launched. An Indian settlement near where I grew up (KwaMashu K-section) known by the landowner’s surname, kwaBeharie (now between Newlands West and Richmond farm in Durban), was torched down. Similar attacks were launched in the Phoenix and other settlements.

Personally, I experienced this when I dated an “Indian woman” who told me stories of her fellow “Indians” calling her a “kaffirf#@&!r”. These were senior public servants in a post-apartheid South Africa. I can also remember in 2004, on the ANC campaign trail, when we visited a suburb close to Dundee where the home helpers (African maids) would tell us that their ‘Indian madams and sirs’ have confiscated their identity documents so that they do not vote for Mandela.

To ignore or dismiss the existence of this undeclared animosity would be short-sighted. On the surface at least, there can be no doubt that the national question in a post-apartheid South Africa has become more pressing and urgent. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to allow oneself to be carried away and only see the South Africa of post 1994 through rose-coloured spectacles.

First and foremost; we must never lose sight of the fact that apartheid capitalism has always been about winning the so called coloured and Indian peoples as allies of the minority monopoly. This, of course, follows the logic of apartheid reasoning.

The plan has been to first break the unity of the African people by dismembering them into ethnic groups and dispersing them among the nine Bantustans. Having done that, the whites would still find themselves outnumbered by Africans in the rest of so called 'white South Africa'. So, some sort of equilibrium would be necessary. Hence the so called coloureds and Indians must be detached from the Africans and won over to the side of the whites.

This apartheid conning is perpetrated to this day and its psychological, social, economic and spatial manifestations are clearly visible. It is very evident in the racial breakdown of income as proxied by household per capita expenditure where the so called Indians follow the whites in a relatively distant second, followed by coloureds and then Africans.

While we have seen tremendous progress in education trends, which are partly related to changes in access to education, the patterns within individual race and gender groups reveal a general upgrading in education levels amongst all groups, although inter-racial comparisons continue to reflect historical education patterns that arose within the context of apartheid.

For an example, according to the Household Survey, Africans and coloureds most often have incomplete secondary education; while on the other hand, Indians and whites are most often in possession of a matric certificate.

Unemployment rate in South Africa continue to be defined and explained by race, gender, age, location & schooling. While unemployment rates for black South Africans hover around 30%, rates for white, Indian, and coloured South Africans are much lower. Apartheid, then, clearly bears much of the responsibility for resultant crisis where there is inter-and intra-race tension leading to resentments that we see today. However, it’s not the whole story.

For as long as a number of our African brothers and sisters continue to regard themselves as accidents of nature; the shackles of apartheid will fix them to victim mentality and dependency syndrome.

I intend not to underscore the fact that apartheid created a number of structural problems that will take a very long time to solve, but to look for scapegoats by perpetuating despotic anti-Indian sentiments is no solution.  As Africans we need to look hard at the mirror and decide to break the apartheid psychology that imprisons us.

While progressive policies have been enacted, the truth is that we have not undertaken a deliberate self-emancipation project. Such a project has its genesis in the mind.

It’s hard to swallow the fact that South Africans spend almost four times more on alcohol than on out of pocket healthcare, over one and a half times more on clothes than on education and about the same on DStv subscriptions as on retirement annuities. Look at the mirror, what do you see?

The fact that our university graduation rate stands at 15% - one of the lowest in the world – and a dropout rate of about 30% (70% being black Africans) cannot be blamed on Indians. Government continues to increase financial assistance to deserving students who are mainly black African children.

While Higher education still reflects broader inequalities, with the graduation rate for white students more than double that of black students, we cannot blame other people but ourselves. If we do not challenge this, it will be a reality that will definitely reproduce racial inequalities well into the future.

There is no doubt that the national question in South African politics was originally introduced for economic motives. Those who perpetuate racial resentment of any kind must remember the Biafra (Nigeria) and Katanga (Democratic Republic Congo) civil wars and know that the Africa of the 21st century can ill afford their repeat, especially here in the South.  I feel it is about time we killed false political escapism manifesting as anti-Indian resentment because it is set up on a wrong analysis of the situation.

I would argue that focusing on superficial happenings without pinpointing to the root causes will only drift us apart and deepen the tensions. Neither is banning songs that highlight this challenge a solution nor is setting up commissions. This is a social problem whose solution is embedded in individuals, families, and communities.

We must ask the right questions. We must always remember that the bonds that tie us, as South Africans irrespective of colour, are cemented in blood of our fallen heroes and heroines. We cannot believe that our circumstances are a deliberate creation of God or an artificial fabrication.

In other words our approach cannot be based on resentments but on positive goals that add to our liberation endeavours. This is important because we must understand that the anomalous situation we find ourselves in was deliberately man-made for the reasons mentioned.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Merry Martin
Theists, please stop explaining!

SilverBack wrote a series of rebuttal articles recently, and one of the issues he raised was the scene where God instructs Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, only to rescind that instruction at the last minute.  Read more...

164 comments 1357 views
Submitted by
MyNews24 delay

We have been receiving your photos and stories but at the moment we're experiencing technical difficulties and are unable to publish them. But there is a way to get heard. Read more.  Read more...

0 comments 249 views
Submitted by
Joe Johnson789
Celebrity deaths bring violent cr...

The eyes of the world were on South Africa for about ten months the trial of Oscar Pistorius lasted. It was reported as one of the most watched media events in recent history. Read more...

10 comments 921 views
Submitted by
Manny Obi-Wan Meyer
The pleasure of finding things ou...

I have often wondered how the events of my past have structured my life in the present, my various skills and propensities, my way of reflecting upon the world at large. Read more...

12 comments 675 views
Submitted by
God is tangible

I am writing this to let every atheist know what happened to me when I was deeply concerned about my mother. Read more...

417 comments 4744 views
Submitted by
Inspired Parenting
10 Tips for helping our matric st...

As more than half a million matrics in South Africa begin their exams, the hopes and dreams of our country rest on their shoulders. Read more...

11 comments 795 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25



E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2014 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.