Local pair to explore their Indian roots

2009-09-21 00:00

TWO Pietermaritzburg residents are among eight young South Africans of Indian origin who are getting ready to pack their bags for India after being selected to attend the Know India Programme (KIP).

KIP is a three-week internship programme organised by the Indian government to promote awareness on India, its social cultural diversity, development and its emergence as an economic powerhouse.

This comprehensive orientation programme, organised two or three times a year, is open to the younger Indian diaspora selected from countries seen to have a large India population such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

This programme is the 12th.

An excited Vedanth Patel (25), one of the participants from Pietermaritzburg, said this will be his first trip to India.

“I think it will be exciting to learn about India. People naturally want to learn about their heritage and where their families come from and I count it an honour to have been chosen,” he said.

Patel, who is from the city centre, is in his final year in B.Comm accounting at Unisa.

While he is looking forward to learning about India’s economic ties, he admitted to also looking forward to visiting prominent tourist sites.

For marketing graduate Lavinia Govender (22), this trip will be a journey of self-discovery.

Govender is undergoing training in retail planning and buying through the Mr Price graduate programme.

While she claims to come from a well-travelled family, with both her brothers living outside South Africa, she missed out on the opportunity to visit her homeland when her family had gone on a trip while she was at school.

So when a family member informed her about this programme, she jumped at the opportunity.

Govender said she feels like a product of a Westernised and watered-down Indian culture, and is hoping this trip will grant her insight into her forefathers’ culture and expose her to the land of her ancestors.

“This trip has a very deep meaning for me,” said Govender.

“There is an old saying that you can never know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from.

“I intend to soak up every last ounce of this experience.”

The South African participants will leave Durban on Thursday and return on October 16.

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