It’s referred to as the ‘Indian diaspora’: people from the subcontinent who have settled - as either first or second generation – in other countries around the world but remain fiercely proud of their heritage and roots. Where-ever they have settled they have left their mark.
In Africa, there have been two waves of Indian immigration. The first was from 1860 when Indians travelled to the East Coast of Africa as indentured labourers to work on the sugar cane plantations (for more information on this, go here). This was followed by the ‘passenger Indians’, the professional middle class that followed this group to take advantage of opportunities in this new land. There were also traders who came mainly from Gujarat on the West Coast of India.
Many Indians continue to retain an attachment with ‘home’. This is partly because of India’s emergence as a world power and cultural influence (who can imagine a world without Bollywood, tandoori, bunny chow, bright saris, Tata motorcars, or spice markets?) and partly because the Indian government has offered overseas Indians the status of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) which allows overseas Indians to invest in the country and enjoy benefits of Indian citizenship.
Indians in Africa are unique in many ways – they do, after all, have a piece of their hearts on each of two separate continents. But like all immigrants, Indians in Africa experience much misinformation about their religion, lifestyle, culture and politics.
Indians in Africa are not a homogenous group. There are different dynamics within populations and communities, different religions, different cultures. There are different outlooks and different concerns.
This website is an attempt to get Indians in Africa to talk to other Indians in Africa and to other people in all the countries on the African continent. It is an effort to share cultures and outlooks, and to get Indians talking about themselves. Please join us in our discussions, we would like to hear from you.
About ‘Indians in Africa’ – the blog
What do you get when you add a teaspoonful of masala to the online media scene: the ‘Indians in Africa’ blog of course! Headed by 24-year-old Cultural and Media Studies Honours graduate Sana Ebrahim of Durban, South Africa, ‘Indians in Africa’ (www.indiansinafrica.co.za) is an online publishing project dedicated to all things Indian for those who no longer live on the subcontinent.
The ‘Indians in Africa’ concept was coined by former Managing Editor of the blog, Ms Niki Moore in January 2009. The blog was subsequently established in February 2009.
“Indians in Africa’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) rests on the fact that it is the only Indian blog that takes community activism and journalism this seriously. While there are a number of Indian websites, these are mainly dedicated to lifestyle, fashion, and Bollywood. ‘Indians in Africa’ thus provides a unique platform for Indian faith-based groups and humanitarian causes to promote the commendable work they are engaged in,” explains blog director, Sana Ebrahim.
In November 2009, ‘Indians in Africa’ switched its Internet Business Solutions provider from Webstorm to Netprophet.co.za (a subsidiary of Joseph King ICT Consultants). NetProphet Internet Business Solutions has since built into the blog a host of fresh and exciting features such as article ratings; a classifieds section; directory; events calendar; and photo gallery.
‘Indians in Africa’ celebrated victory in September 2009, when it was named Runner-up in the Highway Africa 2009 Not-for-Profit New Media Awards category. Sana Ebrahim was invited to receive her award at the 8th edition of the SABC-Highway Africa New Media Awards 2009 held at the Settlers’ Monument in Grahamstown (Eastern Cape, South Africa) on the evening of Monday, 7 September 2009. (Read the full story here: ‘Indians in Africa’ wins prestigious blog award.
The SABC-Highway Africa New Media Awards are unique and prestigious awards within the profession of journalism on the continent, and reward pioneering, innovative and creative use of technology in doing journalism that serves Africa and its citizens. The Awards were pioneered 8 years ago to highlight the role that digital technologies play in journalism and the media.
Judging criteria considered the use of new media technologies to encourage social empowerment amongst marginalised communities, and highlight innovative and creative applications of global technology for the benefit of the continent’s overall media development.
Said Sana Ebrahim of the blog’s win in September 2009: “Indians in Africa is less than a year old, and alhamdulillah (praise be to god) this award shows that the site is making great strides in promoting community activism and journalism. We hope to take this project to even greater heights by running advertising on the site, thereby turning it into a viable online newspaper.”
Former Managing Editor of ‘Indians in Africa’, Ms Niki Moore was equally delighted with the blog’s achievement. “I am not really surprised by this award – Sana took the concept and turned it into a quality product. It is entirely her doing. She has persevered with a new medium and made it her own. This just proves once again that with modern technology the old ways of publishing are getting a shake-up.”