Commemorating indentured history

2015-11-19 06:00
The Executive committee of 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation Verulam, Meena Sookdaw, Woma Thotharam, Roy and Anisha Raghubir, Shirley and Anand Jayrajh and Maggie Archary hold copies of their brochure ‘The Searchlight’.  Photo: Darshan Rangai

The Executive committee of 1860 Indentured Labourers Foundation Verulam, Meena Sookdaw, Woma Thotharam, Roy and Anisha Raghubir, Shirley and Anand Jayrajh and Maggie Archary hold copies of their brochure ‘The Searchlight’. Photo: Darshan Rangai

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THE 1860 Indentured Labourers’ Foundation Verulam commemorated the 155th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa with a play at the Verulam Civic Centre on Sunday and the launch of their brochure.

The brochure - The Searchlight - speaks about the work of the foundation and aims to remind and educate people on the history and heritage of indentured labourers.

Chairman of the foundation, Anand Jayrajh said the history of indentured labourers should always be on the radar as far as community awareness is concerned.

“We are all aware of the fact that these indentured labourers worked in almost slave like conditions and faced a lot of hardships.
“Despite all these difficulties, with diligence and hard work they were able to overcome almost unsurmountable odds to make the lives of their dependents much more comfortable than what they enjoyed,” said Jayrajh.
“This is what we want to commemorate.”

Speaking about the brochure, Jayrajh said an important message is also stated regarding being South Africans of Indian descent.

“As much as the descendants of the indentured labourers look to India as a source of inspiration for their cultural values and religious inspiration, we regard South Africa first and foremost as the country of our birth right and owe our allegiance to this country,” said Jayrajh.

Among the material contained in the brochure, it also speaks about the important emphasis placed by the indentured labourers and their descendants on education.

The play featured by the foundation, “God gave me this life” starring Pranesh Maharaj and written and directed by Vivian Moodley, focused on the theme of suicide with the main character a descendant of indentured labourers.

“It had a very poignant and thought-provoking theme on suicide and the character was a descendant of indentured labourers living in Inanda.
“It focused on the trials and tribulations of his life,” said Jayrajh.

The commemoration at the weekend and brochure launch is part of the main commemorative event held annually by the foundation which also visits schools to educate pupils about the indentured history.

Jayrajh said the foundation is committed to upholding and preserving the history and heritage of the indentured labourers who were brought to the Colony­ of Natal during 1860-1911.

Anyone who would like to buy a copy of the brochure must contact Jayrajh­ on 071 900 7415 or email
info@jayrajh.com

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