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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X

Historia vol.54 n.1 Durban  2009


Introduction: South Africa-India: Towards close scholarly ties


Inleiding: Suid-Afrika-Indië: Die bevordering van hegte vakkundige bande



Isabel Hofmeyr

Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand where she is also Acting Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa and Co-ordinator of the South Africa-India Research Group (www wits ac za/research/sa-india) She is currently working on a project on Indian Ocean textual circulation




This article sets out a new body of historiography that explores connections and comparisons between South Africa and India. The article explains the factors behind the emergence of this body of work. On the one hand, the political transition in South Africa has enabled a free flow of people and ideas to and from India. On the other, the transnational turn in the humanities and social sciences has facilitated a move beyond national, regional and areas studies models which constrained older historiographies. The article concludes by placing the articles in this special collection in this emerging historiography.

Keywords: African and Indian nationalism; comparative history; connected histories; Gandhi; Indian Ocean Studies; neo-Gandhism; passive resistance; satyagraha; South Africa-India; transnationalism


Hierdie artikel sit 'n nuwe historiografiese groep wat die verbintenisse en vergelykings tussen Suid-Afrika en Indië ondersoek, uiteen. Die artikel verduidelik die omstandighede agter die verskyning van hierdie groep. Aan die een kant het die politieke oorgang in Suid-Afrika die vrye vloei van mense en idees na en van Indië moontlik gemaak. Aan die ander kant het die transnasionale wending in die geesteswetenskappe en sosiale wetenskappe n skuif verby nasionale, streeks- en gebiedstudiemodelle wat ouer historiografieë beperk het, vergemaklik. Die artikel sluit af deur die artikels in hierdie spesiale versameling in die konteks van hierdie opkomende historiografie te plaas.

Sleutelwoorde: Aaneengeskakelde geskiedenisse; Afrika en Indiese nasionalisme; Gandhi; Indiese Oseaanstudies; neo-Gandhiïsme; passiewe weerstand; satyagraha; Suid-Afrika-Indië; transnasionalisme; vergelykende geskiedenis



Full text available only in PDF format.



1 These figures have been supplied by Stephen Gelb of the EDGE Institute and formerly Acting Director of the Centre of Indian Studies in Africa They were extracted from internal university documents on the CISA
2 P Raman, "Yusuf Dadoo: Transnational Politics, South African Belonging", South African Historical Journal, 50, 2004, pp 27-48 and J Soske,         [ Links ] "Navigating Difference: Gender, Miscegenation, and Indian Domestic Space in 20th Century Natal", in P Gupta, I Hofmeyr and M Pearson (eds), Eyes Across the Water: Navigating the Indian Ocean (UNISA Press and Penguin India, Pretoria and Delhi, forthcoming)         [ Links ]
3 U Dhupelia-Mesthrie, "The Place of Indian in South African History: Academic Scholarship, Past, Present and Future", South African Historical Journal, 57, 2007, pp 12-34         [ Links ]
4 S de S Jayasuriya and R Pankhurst (eds), The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean (Africa World Press, Trenton, 2003)         [ Links ]
5 Dhupelia-Mesthrie, "The Place of Indian"
6 T Niranjana, "Left to the Imagination: Indian Nationalism and Female Sexuality in Trinidad", Public Culture, 11, 1, 1999, pp 223-243 and J Kelly,         [ Links ] A Politics ofVirtue: Hinduism, Sexuality and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999)         [ Links ]
7 For an example of the former see V Gupta (ed), Dhanyavaad: a Tribute to the Heroes and Heroines of India who Supported the Liberation Struggle of South Africa (The High Commission of the Republic of South Africa in India [New Delhi], New Delhi, n d ); for examples of the latter, see the controversy around Mbongeni Ngema's 2002 song "Amaindiya"
8 D Govinden, Sister Outsiders: The Representation and Difference in Selected Writings by South African Indian Women (UNISA Press, Pretoria, 2008)
9 South African Historical Journal, 57, 2007; South African Journal of International Affairs, 14, 2, 2007; Journal of Asian and African Studies, 1-2, 2009
10 P Gervais-Lambony, F Landy and S Oldfield (eds), Reconfiguring Identities and Building Territories in India and South Africa (Manohar and Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi, 2005)
11 scrutiny2, 13, 2, 2008
12 H Ebrahim, "From 'Ghetto' to Mainstream: Bollywood in South Africa", scrutiny2, 13, 2, 2008, pp 191-204
13 P Gupta, "Mapping Portuguese Decolonisation in the Indian Ocean: a Research Agenda" and R Pinto, "Race and Imperial Loss: Accounts of East Africa in Goa", both in South African Historical Journal, 57, 2007, pp 93-112 and pp 82-92
14 J J Ewald, "Crossers of the Sea: Slaves, Freedmen, and Other Migrants in the Northwestern Indian Ocean, c 1750-1914", The American Historical Review, February 2000, accessed on 25 February 2009 at http://www historycooperative org/iournals/ahr/105 1/ah000069 html; J Hyslop, "Steamship Empire: Asian, African and British Sailors in the Merchant Marine c 1880-1945", Journal of Asian and African Studies, 1-2, 2009, pp 49-67
15 PK Datta, "The Interlocking Worlds of the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa/India" and I Hofmeyr, "The Idea of 'Africa' in Indian Nationalism: Reporting the Diaspora in The Modern Review 1907-1929", both in South African Historical Journal, 57, 2007, pp 35-59 and pp 60-81
16 S Bose, One Hundred Horizons: the Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass , 2006); M Pearson, The Indian Ocean (Routledge, London, 2003) and E Ho, The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility in the Indian Ocean (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006)
17 TN Harper, "Empire, Diaspora and the Languages of Globalism, 1850-1914", in A G Hopkins (ed), Globalization in World History (Pimlico, London, 2002), pp 141-166; MR Frost, "'Wider Opportunities': Religious Revival, Nationalist Awakening and the Global Dimension in Colombo, 1870-1920", Modern Asian Studies, 36, 4, 2002, pp 937-967
18 http://www ruc dk/isg en/IndianOcean/
19 Soske, "Navigating Difference"
20 R Muponde, "Ngugi's Gandhi: Resisting India", scrutiny2, 13, 2, 2008, pp 164-174
21 C Soudien, "Caste, Class and Race: Continuities and Discontinuities across Indian and South African Schools", South African Historical Journal, 57, 2007, pp 113-133
22 P Bonner, "Labour, Migrancy and Urbanization in South Africa and India, 1900-60", Journal of Asian and African Studies, 1-2, 2009, pp 69-95
23 S Sarkar, "Labour History in India and South Africa: Some Affinities and Contrasts", African Studies, 66, 2-3, 2007, pp 181-200 and P Alexander, "Women and Coal Mining in India and South Africa, c 1900-1940", African Studies, 66, 2-3, 3007, pp 201-222
24 M Williams, The Roots of Participatory Democracy: Democratic Communists in South Africa and Kerala, India (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2008) and P Heller, "Democratic Deepening in India and South Africa", Journal of Asian and African Studies, 1-2, 2009, pp 123-149
25 http://web wits ac za/Academic/Research/SA-India/PeopleandProjects/SocialSciences htm
26 C Markovits, The Un-Gandhian Gandhi: the Life and Afterlife of the Mahatma (Permanent Black, Delhi, 2003), p 78
27 G Vahed, "Monty ... Meets Gandhi ... Meets Mandela: the Dilemma of Non-Violent Resisters in South Africa, 1940-1960", this volume
28 C Soudien, "Renaissances, African and Modern: Gandhi as a Resource?", this volume
29 Soudien, "Renaissances, African and Modern"
30 Soudien, "Renaissances, African and Modern"
31 Soudien, "Renaissances, African and Modern"
32 Dhupelia-Mesthrie, "The Place of Indian"
33 R Guha, India After Gandhi: the History of the World's Largest Democracy (Picador, London, 2007)
34 PN Mukerji, "The Universal in the Particular: Universalising Social Science", this volume

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