New book based on stories of ‘real people’


ZULEIKHA Mayat, an author, social activist and philanthro­pist, takes readers on an historical journey in her book, The Odyssey of Crossing Oceans.

Mayat, 95, of Durban, launched the self-published book via a Zoom webinar on Saturday. She said the book, which was largely non-fiction, spanned 1 500 years.

“It focuses on the people who migrated from Arabia to India and, over time, made their way to Gujarat and eventually emigrated to South Africa. These were the so-called passenger Indians who arrived in South Africa after 1860.

“The book is historical fiction. It is based on stories told by real people, rather than what is spread by the Western media. It is about a life spent by different people, in different lands, and how they endured life and challenges that arose in those lands."

Mayat, who started writing at the age of 14, said the book was completed in March.

“It took between three to four years to write as I reclaimed data from my brainbox, which was stored over 95 years of living.”

She was inspired to write it following the success of her previous book, History of Muslims of Gujarat, in 2008.

“The book was well-received by diverse audiences and signalled to me that people have a keen interest in their historical origins and roots.”

The great-grandmothe­r of eight said she was also inspired by her encounters with other elders, who shared their memories with her. Parts of the book reflected her life.

Mayat said the book included pictures of artefacts, crafts and brocades of India.

She said it was important that the history of people of Indian descent and colonised people be recorded, recounted and celebrated. “Young people today are denied insight into their rich heritage. Through research, use of the archives, and oral histories, youth must come to understand their past and proudly embrace it.”

Mayat has authored the cookbook, Indian Delights, as well as Quranic Lights, Nanima’s Chest, A Treasure Trove of Memories, and Dear Ahmedbhai, among others.

Her latest book is available from Ikes Bookshop, at the Durban Book Fair, and from the Women’s Cultural Group.

For more informatio­n, call the group at 031 208 6203.

 ?? Supplied ?? ZULEIKHA Mayat with her book, The Odyssey of Crossing Oceans.
Supplied ZULEIKHA Mayat with her book, The Odyssey of Crossing Oceans. |

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