Third-generation South African Indian Raqsha, attending the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in the national capital, says that Indians in South Africa are in a strange position because they are neither a majority nor a minority.
Raqsha, who has two bachelors’ degrees, one in investment and the other in financial management, is an articulate political activist with the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). She is one of the office-bearers of DA in Natal, where the Indian community in South Africa largely lives. The 21-year-old says things are not too well for Indians in South Africa. But she is confident of negotiating the uncertainty through political engagement.
Raqsha’s comment on the politics of African National Congress is perceptive. “The ANC is aggressive in making promises but it is not aggressive in implementing them,” she says.
What is she looking for in India and at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas? She says that she would want South African Indians to be able to pursue higher studies in India and that this should be made easy for the community.
Zahra is also from South Africa. All that she knows from her parents is that the family came from a place called Jharia but she forgot to ask them more about the place. The 18-year-old, University of Pretoria students has a haunch that perhaps she is the youngest delegate in the Know India Programme, a three-week familiarisation programe organised by the Indian government. The programme opens up a new horizon for these young people to discover and explore their complex identity.
Most others in the programme are from Fiji and Malaysia, and Zahra says she is excited about meeting her People of Indian Origin (PIO) peers. Shivani, 20, is from Fiji. Her mother is from south India and her paternal side is from Gujarat. The law student says she is happy with the political situation in the Indian Ocean island-nation. She says that the Indian community in Fiji and the islanders enjoy equal opportunities.