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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

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Natal Indian Congress

Indians arrived in South Africa as indentured labourers between 1860 and 1911 and many remained, making South Africa their home. By 1911 there were 150 000 Indians in South Africa of whom 89 per cent were in Natal. Discriminatory restrictions were placed upon them and it was Mohandas Gandhi, who founded the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in 1894 to organize Indian resistance. He launched passive resistance, or satyagraha, in 1906 and again in 1913. Further discrimination against Indians culminated in the 'Pegging' Act (1943) and the far-reaching 'Ghetto' Act of 1946. By this time the NIC was under younger, more radical leaders and another passive resistance campaign was launched, in which Indian women played a significant role. In 1947 the NIC took the important step of forging closer links with the ANC*. G.M. Naicker of the NIC, Yusuf Dadoo of the TIC and A.B. Xuma of the ANC signed the so-called 'Doctors' Pact', agreeing to cooperate against racial oppression. In the 1950s Indian leaders under the umbrella Indian body, the South African Indian Congress* (SAIC), founded in 1923, joined the ANC as part of the Congress Alliance.* The Natal Indian Congress also led a strong protest against the South African Indian Council which agreed to take part in the elections for a tricameral parliament* in 1984, resulting in the arrest of several NIC members by security police.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.