Plaque unveiled to honour Indians’ role in SA

2011-11-11 00:00

FINANCE MEC Ina Cronjé yesterday unveiled a plaque in Carbineers Gardens, Pietermaritzburg, in commemoration of 150 years since the arrival of indentured Indian labourers in the province.

Addressing a gathering at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, she said Indians have played a vital role in South Africa’s development.

Cronjé reminded the gathering about celebrated local stalwarts, like Appiah Savaranan (A.S.) Chetty, after whom the municipal building at 333 Church Street is named.

Chetty was the secretary of the Pietermaritzburg branch of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) and was deputy mayor in 1998 in the Pietermaritzburg transitional local council.

Dr Mahomed Moosa (Chota) Motala had the old Greytown Road named after him. He was a veteran member of the ANC and NIC and became South Africa’s first ambassador to Morocco in 1994.

Hoosen Haffejee was a political activist who died in detention.

Fatima Meer was one of the founders of the Federation of South African Women and led the historic Women’s March to the Union Building in 1956 in protest of pass laws.

Cronjé said the townscape of Pietermaritzburg reflects the notable contribution of Indians. Temples, mosques, arched verandas and palm trees are some of the features that former indentured families and Muslim traders have created in the city.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela told the gathering that Indians have made major investments in manufacturing and retail, providing employment to many.

Indian consul-general Anil Sharan said he is happy the history of Indians is not forgotten in the province.

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