About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Natal Indian Congress (NIC)

The Natal Indian Congress has a long history going back to 1894, when the organisation was formed by Mahatma Gandhi. Initially, it independently promoted the interests of middle-class Indians. Later, after joining the Congress Alliance, it aligned itself more closely with the aims of the ANC. Soon afterwards, however, the organisation collapsed. Numerous mergers, breakaways and revivals led to its being reactivated in its present form. In the following years George Sewpershad, later appointed president of the NIC, made an active contribution to the organisation, despite the fact that he was detained on many occasions.

In 1990 Newa Ramgogan, vice-president of the NIC, declared that it was "no secret" that the NIC had al-ways acted under the leadership of the ANC, and that it consulted the ANC before formulating its own policy. He also stated that the "Xuma/ Dadoo/Naicker pact of 1947" meant that the NIC and ANC "basically had the same policy". The Natal Indian Congress has a long and illustrious track record in resistance politics which will not be covered in detail here as the NIC and its Transvaal counterpart, the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC), which was reactivated in 1982, have decided to start a phasing-out process. The NIC feels there should be "unity in action" and that this can best be achieved by merging with the ANC. The NIC will, however, according to the general secretary, Dr Farouk Meer, first act as facilitator and organiser of the ANC's recruitment campaign before disbanding.

In March 1991 the ANC announced, however, that the two Indian Congresses would continue to exist as independent organisations. This was sharply criticized by the ANCYL. It is possible that the TIC wishes to make the Indian minority group feel favourable towards the ANC because it wishes to represent this minority group at the negotiating table.

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.