Buthelezi talks In­dian ‘so­cial co­he­sion’

Saturday Star - - NATION - SAMKELO MT­SHALI samkelo.mt­[email protected]

INKATHA Free­dom Party leader Prince Man­go­suthu Buthelezi will ad­dress the Con­sulate Gen­eral of In­dia in Dur­ban this morn­ing on the im­pact of the ar­rival of In­di­ans on the cul­ture of South Africa as ef­forts con­tinue for so­cial co­he­sion, par­tic­u­larly be­tween In­di­ans and Africans.

Ear­lier this year, at a Hu­man Rights Day cel­e­bra­tion, Buthelezi lauded the In­dian com­mu­nity in Kwazulu-natal for as­sist­ing him fight apartheid fi­nan­cially as well as the ef­forts it had un­der­taken to build schools for black peo­ple when his party headed the provin­cial­go­v­ern­ment in the 1990s.

Last month marked the 158th an­niver­sary of the ar­rival of In­dian in­den­tured labour­ers on South African shores, un­der the prom­ise of a bet­ter life, to work on su­gar-cane plan­ta­tions and in agri­cul­ture.

Nee­shan Bal­ton, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ahmed Kathrada Foun­da­tion, said that there was no spe­cific South African cul­ture as that was still work in progress.

“Only in 1960 or 1961 were In­di­ans ac­cepted as res­i­dents of South Africa, up un­til then the agenda of the Na­tional Party was to repa­tri­ate them,” said Bal­ton.

He said that it was af­ter the dawn of democ­racy in 1994 that dif­fer­ent cul­tures and com­mu­ni­ties in SA would have had a greater pos­si­bil­ity of ex­chang­ing and un­der­stand­ing each other’s cul­ture.

“The im­pact of any spe­cific group’s cul­ture on the oth­ers in this coun­try has been min­i­mal, pre­cisely be­cause of the di­vi­sions of the past. How­ever, there are as­pects of In­dian cul­ture that I think would be of ben­e­fit to the fu­ture South African cul­ture.

“The em­pha­sis on ed­u­ca­tion that has emerged in the last 20 or 30 years has re­ally been some­thing that has put that com­mu­nity in a good stead and has en­abled it to take ma­jor ad­van­tages of this democ­racy,” Bal­ton said.

He added that South Africans were cur­rently at a stage of tol­er­ance where they ac­cepted each oth­ers’ lan­guages, mu­sic and re­li­gion.

How­ever in re­cent years, de­spite ef­forts for so­cial co­he­sion, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers such as Julius Malema, leader of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters, had been vo­cal on the ten­sions be­tween In­di­ans and Africans.

In June, dur­ing a Youth Day rally, Malema said that the ma­jor­ity of In­di­ans were racist and that they hated Africans.

How­ever, Bal­ton agreed that there had his­tor­i­cally been ten­sions be­tween In­di­ans and Africans.

“Many of those ten­sions were re­ally amongst poor Africans and poor In­di­ans fight­ing for very, very scarce re­sources and jobs par­tic­u­larly in the KZN area and those di­vi­sions were deep­ened by Group Ar­eas di­vi­sions, ed­u­ca­tional di­vi­sions and job clas­si­fi­ca­tion di­vi­sions with com­mu­ni­ties pit­ted against each other,” Bal­ton said.

He warned that lead­ers who made gen­er­alised state­ments did not help to ad­dress the prob­lem.

African News Agency (ANA)

MINISTER Jeff Radebe said the SA Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion ran into a se­ries of gov­er­nance is­sues.

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