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Indian South Africans

African Indians: Timely Entrance, Expansion and Settlement

Sampson Jeremiah
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African Indians. Timely Entrance, Expansion and Settlement. Vacation Packages. Early Arrival, Early Arrival History and the Community. The first Indians arrived in South Africa in 1860 to work as indentured labourers on the sugar plantations in Natal. A shortage of labour and an inability to secure the local Zulu population as a work pool necessitated the bringing in of Indians. The British Government, which also paid their passage, invited the labourers, mostly from Upper India and Madras, to South Africa and contracted them to work for periods of 3-5 years. When their contracts expired they could either be renewed or they could return to India at the expense of the Government. However many chose the option of staying on and receiving in return a plot of land equal in value to the cost of their passage back to India. Those that stayed on were usually absorbed into the various sectors of the economy as labourers or started up farming their own land. A second group of Indians, arriving in South Africa around the same time as the first were British subjects who having paid their own costs to travel over there, settled in Natal where they started up their own businesses