November 16 will mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians as indentured labourers in South Africa.
Similar to their counterparts in Fiji, Indians went by ship from Madras and Calcutta (now called Chennai and Kolkata) to work in the sugarcane fields of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
South African born, Indian author Myan Subrayan has traced the journey of his ancestors in his forthcoming book, Born a Hindu, Die a Hindu? Journey from Half Black to the Land of All Blacks.
Mr Subrayan has been a New Zealand resident for the past ten years. The book is the result of his extensive research and is easy to read.
His earlier book, Inga, My Story, written with Inga Tuigamala, was a fascinating and inspiring story of the Rugby player (Indian Newslink, November 1, 2009).
Editor’s Note: Born in a Hindu family, Mr Subrayan became a Christian in 1994, the year South Africa broke the shackles of discrimination.
He migrated to New Zealand in 2000 and completed a postgraduate degree in Education, majoring in Christian Worldview Studies.
He founded the ‘Hope 2 Overcome Ministries.’
He has written two other books, From the Pit to the Palace (Reviewed in Indian Newslink, March 1, 2007) and You Can.
In his latest book, Mr Subrayan narrates the up-close the story of life in South Africa during the troubled apartheid times, with well-researched accounts of the many prejudices and hardships faced by ‘coloured people.’ He also provides insights into the religion of his birth, Hinduism and highlights the need for tolerance and respect for all faiths.
He admitted that writing the book was not easy.
“The problem was not ‘What I say,’ but, ‘What I don’t say’. Some have felt that it would have been better if I remained silent on the issues I have written about in this book, whilst many others have commended me for ‘letting my voice be heard’.
“I have intended to present events as I saw them unfold in my life with honesty and simplicity. Right or wrong it’s my perception of these events and I duly accept that it may not meet with everyone’s approval,” he said.
I believe that Born a Hindu, Die a Hindu? Journey from Half Black to the Land of All Blacks is an amazing story of the human power to overcome adversity, which will move and captivate you. It describes what life was for him and his family living under the racist apartheid South African Government.
He documents the conditions indentured Indians experienced on the ships and the atrocities they faced at the hands of their employers on the sugar cane fields of South Africa.
Readers will be enthralled to read about Mahatma Gandhi’s early life in South Africa and how he helped champion the cause against apartheid.
Mr Subrayan has dedicated his book to his mother who died the day on October 7, 2010, the day he received the first copy.
In his Foreword, West Auckland Church Leader Tak Bhana said, “I received quite an ‘education’ from the author’s valuable insights into the Hindu beliefs and his thoughts regarding the evils of Apartheid in South Africa. It is an inspiring and faith-building read.”
The book will be launched at City Church Waitakere (133 Central Park Drive), in Henderson, Auckland on November 6. Inga Tuigamala and prominent Christian Apologist Dr Steve Kumar will be among the guest speakers at the open-to-public event beginning at 645 pm.
Sudesh Kissun is Editor of Dairy News and an Indian Newslink Contributor based in Auckland.