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Friday, November 15, 2019


(1860 – The start of a new life. Freshly indentured Indian labourers – Addington Beach)

Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom will stage a spectacular 1860 Exhibition at its Imbizo Conference Centre from November 19 to 21, celebrating 159 years of Indian history in South Africa.

It will be open to the public from 11h00 to 12h00 on November 19 and 21 and from 11h00 to 16h00 on November 20.

The project is a joint venture between Sibaya and its Community Trust, Lotus FM and the 1860 Heritage Centre, with contributions from the Springtown and Magazine Barracks Associations.

The exhibition will feature historical photographs and pictures, documents and works of art as well as performances by the best young South African Indian artists.

Sibaya will invite local schools and educational institutions to visit the exhibition - as part of this celebration of Indian culture.

(Right: By 1890 the demand for labour on sugar cane plantations in Natal had increased, resulting in feverish activity to recruit from various parts of India)

An 1860 Gala Dinner will also take place on November 20 and will include a host of expert speakers including: Dr Sam Ramsamy, Prof Ashwin Desai, Kiru Naidoo and 1860 Heritage Centre curator, Selvan Naidoo.

Sibaya General Manager, Myan Moodley urged the community and particularly families, to visit the exhibition: “Indians have had a colourful and difficult journey in South Africa. The exhibition will cover all aspects of this history. It will incorporate both video and print material and this will make for easy understanding and interpretation. Apart from standard exhibits, we will also include live exhibits of individuals in traditional garb as they landed on SA soil in 1860. There will also be music performances at the exhibition, making for a fun and interesting experience,” he said.

(Left: 1890s – After a month at sea, this indentured labourer is left wide-eyed and dishevelled)

Within 14 years, as a result of the aggressive recruitment, Indians started outnumbering the white population. At that point the region had a total population of 1,102 027, comprising 904,000 Africans, 100,918 Indians and 97,109 whites.

As a result of Indian labour, Natal progressed becoming the most flourishing of all British colonies. By 1911 there were 152,184 Indians, 62% men, 25% women and 13% children.

The period of exploitation however, was brought to an abrupt end that year when India banned future indentureship, due to poor working conditions and severe ill-treatment.

For more information contact Tracy Bamber on 073 254 2455 or email