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Tuesday, November 16, 2021


“Joanne Joseph has skilfully crafted fact into fiction. May Shanti’s story inspire others to tell her story.” – Pregs Govender, activist and author of Love and Courage: A Story Insubordination

“Shanti is a heroine that the reader will not easily forget. The story that is told here is worth not only knowing but also remembering. “ – Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, author, filmmaker and academic.

Vividly set against the backdrop of 19th century India and the British-owned sugarcane plantations of Natal, written with great tenderness and lyricism, Children of Sugarcane paints an intimate and wrenching picture of indenture told from a woman’s perspective. Shanti, a bright teenager stifled by life in rural India and facing an arranged marriage, dreams that South Africa is an opportunity to start afresh. The Colony of Natal is where Shanti believes she can escape the poverty, caste, and troubling fate of young girls in her village.

Months later, after a harrowing sea voyage, she arrives in Natal only to discover the profound hardship and slave labour that await her. Spanning four decades and two continents, Children of Sugarcane demonstrates the life-giving power of love, heartache, and the indestructible bonds between family and friends. These bonds prompt heroism and sacrifice, the final act of which leads to Shanti’s redemption. The book is available at all major bookstores and

Children of Sugarcane is published by Jonathan Ball Publishers


To View The Book Launch:

INTERVIEW: Children of Sugarcane paints an intimate and wrenching picture of indentured labourers in SA: