Zuma congratulates SA Indian community

2010-11-15 21:11

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Monday paid tribute to South Africans of Indian descent, saying that since their arrival 150 years ago they had made the transition from being slaves to becoming an integral part of South Africa.

The first group of almost 300 Indians arrived in the then Colony of Natal aboard the SS Truro. They were primarily brought in as indentured slaves to work the colony's sugar cane fields.

"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," said Zuma in a statement issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the indentured slaves aboard the SS Truro.

"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."

Zuma also referred to Mahatma Gandhi and said the Gandhi's "notions of Satyagraha (passive resistance)" were forged in South Africa.

"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."

Zuma said he looked forward to working with the Indian community in build a brighter and better future for all South Africans.

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