162nd anniversary of the arrival of Indian indentured workers commemorated

People immerse flowers in the sea.

The 162nd anniversary of the arrival of the indentured Indian labourers was commemorated at a ceremony at the Durban beachfront yesterday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 17, 2022


Durban - The 162nd anniversary of the arrival of the 1860 Indian indentured labourers in KwaZulu-Natal was commemorated by the 1860 Heritage Centre with the traditional ringing of the bell and the immersing of marigold flowers into the sea at the Durban beachfront yesterday.

The event was attended by the Consulate-General of India in Durban, Dr Thelma John David, and former Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Ravi Pillay.

David said it was important to remember the connection between South Africa and India.

“The connections of the past is what will hold us stronger as we go into the future.

“It is truly the connectivity of the people, our communities, our cultures and the trade and commerce that is between us that will bind us together.”

Pillay paid tribute to the 1860 Heritage Centre for hosting the event every year.

He said the day should be commemorated by all South Africans.

“This should be a special day for South Africa as a whole because all of our histories are equally important.

“That’s why our Constitution guarantees the rights of everyone to honour their history and culture. It’s important for the cohesion of society.

“It is critically important for youth to know about the arrival of 1860 indentured labourers.”

Mariamma Naidoo, 86, was given the honour of being the first person to put a marigold into the sea.

“Our grandparents came from India and to witness this commemoration makes me happy. Our forefathers had very difficult times, but they survived and today the tradition still carries on.”

She added that the younger generation needed to learn about and practise Indian culture.

Jimmy Moodley, who attended the event for the first time, said: “I’m so glad that I came. It’s important that we pay homage to our ancestors.

“It’s important that we respect the fact that they made a difficult decision to leave India and seek out this new land, not knowing what they were getting into and where they were going.

“We should continue to do this (commemoration) and the future generation should do this because we must not forget the struggle our ancestors went through and the legacy they left for us.”


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