Youth praise 1860 indentured labourers

2016-09-08 06:00
Chairperson of the 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation Verulam Jaisingh Singh,Bobby Perumal and Roy Rughbeer listening attentively while pupils deliver speeches at the Youth Conference in Dianthus Primary School. Photo: andile sithole

Chairperson of the 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation Verulam Jaisingh Singh,Bobby Perumal and Roy Rughbeer listening attentively while pupils deliver speeches at the Youth Conference in Dianthus Primary School. Photo: andile sithole

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THE legacy of the 1860 indentured labourers and unsung heroes who arrived at KwaZulu-Natal from India in 1860 to 1911 will always be remembered, said youth who attended a Youth Conference last week.

The first Indian settlers who arrived in South Africa revived and injected new blood to the agricultural sector and to the economy of the country at large.

These were the sentiments shared at the Youth Conference held at Dianthus Primary School in Verulam.

Distinguished guests and pupils from different secondary schools in Verulam shared a podium at the event and commended the magnificent contributions made by the indentured labourers of 1860 when they arrived in South Africa.

Zahraa Moidir from Verulam Secondary School said unsung heroes such as George Sewpersadh were true sons of the struggle who strived and persevered to liberate South Africans.

In her poem she cited Sewpersadh’s contribution that he made to South Africa’s history.

“Comrade George was a true son of the struggle. The son of the indentured migrants, you emerged the freedom stalwart. The apartheid oppressors failed to stripe your defined spirit. Comrade and legend of the struggle and a brilliant man of the law,” she said.

A Verulam resident, Komilan Pather said the arrival of indentured labourers in KwaZulu-Natal brought life to the farming industry and to the economy at that time.

“They were brought from Indian because they were needed to grow tobacco, vegetables and other agricultural products that made a great impact to the economy of the country. Despite living in poverty, they were persistent in improving their standard of living,” he said.

Chairman of the 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation Verulam Jaisingh Singh said the aim of the conference was to empower the youth and remind them about the history of indentured labourers.

“The indentured labourers came to KwaZulu-Natal in 1860 to 1911. September being the heritage and history month, we wanted youth to give us their perceptions about the indentured labourers,” he said.

Singh urged the youth to participate in the discussions in order to improve their knowledge on South African history.

“I was impressed with one of the pupils from Dianthus Primary School who thanked our foundation for bringing honour to the school by arranging such a historic function. I also would like to thank our sponsor Deena Butchery in Verulam for making our function a success,” he said.

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