chapter  12
13 Pages

Seeking Empire, Finding Nation

Gandhi and Indianness in South Africa
WithIsabel Hofmeyr

Reading through the pages of Indian Opinion, one is often momentarily disorientated as time and space between ‘South Africa’ and ‘India’ combine in unexpected ways. A headline, ‘Loyalty of Native Chiefs’, refers not to local African rulers as I first assumed but to the princely states (Indian Opinion July 30 1903). Under the headline, ‘The National Congress and Indians in South Africa’, a report of Dec. 13 1903 indicated that a meeting was to be held at ‘Tata Mansions, Waudby Road’. Are we in Durban or Bombay? An article in the edition of Sept. 26 1910 reads:

Mr GA Natesan writes in the Indian Review [a Madras publication]:- A cable from South Africa brings the news that the British Indians in the Transvaal are taking a vow of passive resistance as a protest against the recent Asiatic Amendment Bill.

While the cutting validates local struggles by demonstrating international interest in the event, it also makes it seem as if the event were happening in ‘India’ and ‘South Africa’ at the same time.