Office hours of the Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre

During the National lockdown, the Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre will be opened Monday – Friday, 8h00 till 16h30. For assistance, please contact munsamyt@ukzn.ac.za.

Celebration 162 years arrival Indian Indentured Labour in Natal 1860-1911


Calcutta and Madras became the centres for the World’s trade in indentured Labour in the nineteenth century and recruiters from British and European colonies set up their offices and vied with each other to despatch their orders. The first recorded reference to the Natal Colonists demand for indentured Indian labour is traced to a report in the Durban Observer, 17 October 1851, No. 9 of a meeting of leading citizens held at Durban Government School Hall. Among those present were Morewood, William Campbell, J.C. Byrne and Dr. Johnstone. After a spirited debate the motion calling for the introduction of Indian labour was passed.

The ship, SS Truro, departed from Madras on October 12, 1860, with 342 passengers aboard and arrived in Durban on November 16, and was the first ship to bring Indian indentured labourers to Natal from India.

The ship, SS Truro, departed from Madras on October 12, 1860, with 342 passengers aboard and arrived in Durban on November 16, and was the first ship to bring Indian indentured labourers to Natal from India.

On board the ship, perhaps for the first time in their lives, Indians of different castes and different language groups discovered each other. Initially they found it difficult to mix socially, especially at meal times. For example, in the Muslim diet the meat had to be ‘halaal’, greater difficulties arose among the Hindus, among whom were vegetarians who were members of different castes who refused to cat together for ‘fear of losing their caste.’

The period 1860 to 1911 is thus an important and integral part of the overall history of South Africa. It was during this turbulent period when more than 150 000 indentured labourers were imported from India to Natal.

The Natal Mercury on November 22, 1860, reported on the arrival of the ship with the opening line: “On Friday afternoon last, the 16th instant, the large barque Truro made the anchorage and signalled the fact of her having a large number of Coolies on board.


Heritage Month 2022


Heritage Month is celebrated annually in September. It is celebrated to mark our nation’s diverse culture and heritage.

September 24 was previously known in South Africa as Shaka Day, a day commemorating the Zulu King of Shaka. He was known for uniting the Zulu clan together and forming the Zulu nation. Every year, South Africans would gather at his grave to honor him. In 1995 a request for the day to be confirmed as an official holiday was rejected. After receiving some pushback from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a majority Zulu party, it was decided that the day was needed and would be known as ‘‘Heritage Day.’’

Since then South Africans have celebrated Heritage Day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many different cultures that make up their nation. Events are held across the

country with some people choosing to dress up in traditional attire.

There was a media campaign in 2005 that sought to have the day recognized as National Braai Day, to acknowledge the backyard barbeque tradition, but the holiday is still officially recognized as Heritage Day.

Heritage Day timeline

The King is Dead. Shaka the Zulu king dies provoking a remembrance day in his name, celebrating that he often encouraged a cohesive nation.
Rejected and Neglected. The Public Holidays Bill presented to the Parliament of South Africa does not have September 24 on their list of official public holidays.
Heritage Proof. Nelson Mandela addresses Heritage Day claiming that the day will allow the country’s heritage to help build a new nation.


Let’s Talk Heritage. Ebrahim Rasool, a South African politician addresses the public at a Heritage Day gathering in Gugulethu.
The holiday is finally embraced. After belittling it in 2007, the National Heritage Council endorses National Heritage Day

Some of the activities at Made in CHATSWORTH

market – 18 September 2022

Women’s Month – 09 August 1956

On August 9, 1956, there was a staged march on the Union Buildings of Pretoria. Over 20,000 women of all races attended the march in order to protest against the Urban Areas Act of 1950 amendments. This law required all South Africans defined as “black” to carry an internal passport that served to maintain segregation, control urbanization, and manage migrant labor during the apartheid.

The protest was led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sophia Williams. The women left 14,000 petitions at the office doors of the prime minister. 100,000 signatures were left outside the prime minister’s door as well as a thirty-minute silent protest. After the silent protest, songs were sung to honor the event, to make sure their voices were heard. The song they sang was composed specifically for the event, titled “Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo” which translates to “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.”

It was a peaceful protest but it made a difference, because of it we have National Women’s Day. The day wasn’t actually made a holiday until 1995. The day brings attention to the issues African women faced then and still face today, including domestic violence, workplace sexual harassment, unequal pay, girls not being allowed to go to school, and no-help parenting. In 1994, women had very low representation within Parliament, with just nearly 2.7%. Women within the national assembly were at 27.7%. After the creation of this public holiday, the numbers nearly doubled, with women now having 48% representation all throughout the country’s government.