In Natal, the arrival of the Indentured Indian in 1860 marked the beginnings of an organised scheme whereby approximately 152,184 Indians arrived to seek gainful employment in a fledgling sugar industry. While many worked on the sugar fields, others worked on the wattle and tea plantations and in the coal-mines . Some came as domestic servants as Dhobis, waiters and house-servants and were able to command a respectable salary of 20 shillings per month.

 Arrival of Indentured Indians

 Arrival of Indentured Indians


Emigration Pass

When the ships left India, the name of the person, his age sex, caste height, area he came from, the village, the name of the Ship and the year were documented. Hence a "ships list" of all passengers were compiled and where possible when the labourers arrived in the Colony of Natal, the name of his employer was inserted in the register. This record served to keep track of the Indians and even in later years Indians were not allowed to cross the border into the provinces of Natal, Cape, Orange Free State and Transvaal unless a permit was secured.




 Indentured Indians in Sugar Fields  Morewoods Immigration Barracks on the Umgeni

 While they stayed in the Colonies, they set up residence, built their own homes, temples and engaged themselves in a variety of festivals. The kavady festival was prevelant in the earlier years and was dubbed the "marigold festival" due to the abundance of marigolds used. The Mohurrum festival, which is usually a Muslim festival, was celebrated by all Indians. The event was called an Indian Xmas by the White settlers.

To add photos of Indian Xmas, Indians washing clothes, settler family

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