INDIA – SOUTH AFRICA RELATIONS: HISTORICAL GOODWILL AND A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|November 2020
INDIA – SOUTH AFRICA RELATIONS: HISTORICAL GOODWILL AND A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
DR. PAUL CHIUDZA BANDA

Introduction

India and South Africa have had relations and contacts for hundreds of years. Records trace these relations to the late 15th century. By then, it is alleged that Indians were already found in parts of South Africa, where for instance, it was an Indian who helped to transport the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, from Natal to India, at the close of that century. In the 18th century, India became part of the British Empire, a process that only ended in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War in 1947. Similarly, at the beginning of the 19th century, South Africa also fell under the British Empire, a process that continued well into the 20th century. Those relations then increased the movements of peoples in either direction, with most of the movements facilitated by the waters of the Indian Ocean which both countries share. As of the year 2020, there are over 1.6 million people of Indian descent resident in South Africa. There are also hundreds of South African peoples currently involved in trade and academics in Indian schools and universities. This article traces the relations between the two countries, during the colonial era, during the fight for independence, and during the post-colonial period. The current picture, as will be highlighted later, is that the relationship between these two “middle power” countries, has grown from strength to strength.

Colonial Era Connections: 19th And 20th Centuries

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