Indian diaspora in Africa: An enduring link in ties

The Indian diaspora in Africa is a strong binding factor in the ties between India and Africa, writes SHUBHA SINGH

Indian diaspora in Africa: An enduring link in ties
Early settlers and Indian immigrants at the Bluff, Durban (Courtesy: The Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre, University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa)

The waters of the Indian Ocean have linked India and Africa since the ages when brisk monsoon winds filled sails of the wooden dhows that carried intrepid sailors and traders to the other shore.

Archaeological evidence, coins and ancient texts such as the ‘Periplus of the Erythaean Sea’, written in the 1st century CE are indicative of the network of mercantile trade that was in existence for many centuries. The arrival of the colonial era and the faster ships in use intensified the contacts between India and Africa.