Dur­ban’s in­au­gu­ral in­den­ture sym­po­sium

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THIS year marks 100 years since the Viceroy of In­dia an­nounced the end of the sys­tem of in­den­ture, which was en­forced by the Bri­tish from the 1830s to meet labour needs fol­low­ing the end of slav­ery, and re­sulted in the dis­place­ment of some 3.5 mil­lion In­di­ans to var­i­ous Bri­tish, French and Dutch colonies, in­clud­ing Natal.

To mark this event, the 1860 Her­itage Cen­tre in Derby Street will host a sym­po­sium on Novem­ber 4 from 8.30am to 3.30pm aimed at look­ing at the sig­nif­i­cance of this mile­stone in his­tory.

The sym­po­sium con­ven­ers, Kal­pana Hi­ralal, Betty Govin­den and Sel­van Naidoo, said that in­den­ture, like slav­ery, con­tin­ued to shape the his­tory and psy­che of peo­ple and it was worth re­flect­ing on the im­pact and le­gacy of in­den­ture from dif­fer­ent van­tage points.

It was also vi­tal, they said, to look at its po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance, both lo­cally and glob­ally.

They are hop­ing the pre­sen­ta­tions made will, in due course, be col­lated into a pub­lished book.

In ad­di­tion to aca­demics de­liv­er­ing pa­pers on the topic, they hope this in­au­gu­ral sym­po­sium will also con­trib­ute to the mu­seum de­vel­op­ing into a space for crit­i­cal de­lib­er­a­tions on dif­fer­ent as­pects of the past.

Speak­ers in­clude Uma-Dhu­peli­aMesthrie, pro­fes­sor of his­tory at the Univer­sity of the Western Cape; Dilip Menon, di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for In­dian Stud­ies in Africa at Wits Univer­sity; Ra­jend Mesthrie, pro­fes­sor of English at UCT; and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tors to pub­lic de­bate, Brij Ma­haraj and Ash­win De­sai. Themes for the pa­pers are:

The In­den­ture Her­itage: An eval­u­a­tion and in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the schol­arly her­itage and its sig­nif­i­cance for the present.

New Per­spec­tives on the In­dian Di­as­pora: Will ex­plore al­ter­na­tive per­spec­tives on the In­dian di­as­pora.

In­den­ture and Democ­racy: On is­sues and con­cerns that are rel­e­vant to so­cial co­he­sion prac­tices that fos­ter good re­la­tion­ships.

Queries about the sym­po­sium can be e-mailed to:

hi­ralalk@ukzn.ac.za

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