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SA Indians want ancestors' memorial

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 12:04 IST
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The Indian origin community in South Africa wants a monument to commemorate the arrival of their forefathers to the country and to mark their contribution to the African society.

"There are monuments commemorating the arrival of peoples in different parts of the world, including the Pilgrim Fathers in the United States and even communities such as the Parsis in India," Indian consul general Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

South Africa is a nation of over 47 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. According to the 2005 census, Indians constitute 2.5 per cent of the population.

Indians first arrived in South Africa on board the Truro in 1860 to work on the sugar plantations of the eastern coastal area of South Africa, then known as Natal.

Most Indians are Hindu or Muslim. Indian languages like Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati have constitutional protection in South Africa.

Shringla said a lot of credit had been given to the Indian community for their contribution in fighting for the freedom of the country and in its economic and social development.

"The arrival of the Indian people to South Africa helped in the establishment of a whole new civilisation on South African soil and the development of KwaZulu Natal, which was a stagnant British colony at the time," sociologist Fatima Meer was quoted as saying in the Post newspaper.

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