A Rich and Colorful
Indentured Indian labourers arrive at the Point – Durban, for immigration to process their documents.
boats, employing 150 people but five years later they were forced off the island and sent to Addington Beach. They also thrived here employing 1000 fishermen by 1940 and had 150 boats. The community grew and built schools and palatial houses on the water’s edge. The area spawned several notable residents, among them the heroic Padavatan Six, who used their sea-faring expertise to overcome the treacherous floods of 1917 to save 176 market gardeners. Apartheid eventually prevailed in 1963 when they were banished to Chatsworth, 25km away from the sea – finally putting an end to a century-old industry.
- • Labourers were fined an entire month’s salary for trivial offences.
- • Held in a prison, at times in solitary confinement and a “spare diet.”
- • Indians were victims of hatred and revenge.
• That the punishments made “even angels weep.”
James wrote: “We have left our independent shores and come to this dependent shore, with every assurance of being well looked after. Not to be treated with cruelties, that every English soul detests.”
The need for labour on the sugar cane plantations of Natal had become critical. White farmers were desperate as they clamoured for Indians to save them from ruin.
It was under these circumstances that local farmers appealed to authorities to permit Indian indentureship in South Africa, resulting in the arrival of the first batch of workers in 1860.