150 years after the arrival of the first Indian indentured labourers to South Africa, our society's wider history has not escaped the risk of distortions and omissions that come from excluding critical voices and players in our struggle for democracy.
Featuring profiles by the award-winning academic and columnist, Devi Moodley Rajab and portraits by the iconic South African photographer, Ranjith Kally 'Women: South Africans of Indian Origin' steps into a critical gap in our understanding of our evolution into a society united in its diversity. The changing status of Indian woman over the last century and a half has been a remarkable journey of triumph over struggle.
For large periods of the country’s history such women were largely invisible within society. The taboos of culture, religion and other societal norms kept them locked in the restrictive duties of domesticity for decades. Post-apartheid freedom has, however, allowed for a renaissance among woman achievers in the Indian community and this book is an attempt to tell their stories and chart some areas of the development of such women, from indenture to contemporary times.
The personal narratives in this book take the reader into the heart, home and hopes of women often ignored in public discourse. These narratives also take us ever so gently into a rich cultural milieu – not just the aromatic smell of spices or the glittering jewellery, but lives textured beyond clichés of subservience and dominance.
These are narratives of the resilience of a culture that transcended the humiliation of the system of indenture to thrive in a democracy. Above all, this is a celebration of the spirit of South African women of Indian origin and of the joy of breaking free.