The Indian community of SA is a complex, even bewildering, mixture of classes, languages, histories and inclinations. One thing is clear — no-one can say with certainty which way the majority of this community will vote this time.

In the 1800s and 1900s there were two waves of migrants from India: indentured labour largely from the southern part of India in the 1860s, making Tamil and Telugu as well as Hindi the main linguistic communities; and a second wave, mainly from Gujrat and referred to as the “merchant Indians”. From the early passive resistance campaign led by Mahatma Gandhi to widespread labour action, a firm foundation for radicalism was set that future leaders and activists would draw from...

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