Indentured Masculinity in Colonial Natal, 1860–1910

  • Goolam Vahed

Abstract

The men of Southern Africa have frequently been fitted into the binaries of black/white or indigenous/settler. While this framework distinguishes the different histories and power positions, it conceals the presence of men whose geographical origins, ethnic affiliations, and position in the racial order escape these neat divisions. This chapter on a hitherto neglected group of South African men, the “Indians,” argues that for most of them, their arrival as indentured laborers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was critical in framing their masculinities. Their inbetweenness as “not white” and “not black” and their strong connections with the cultures of the Indian subcontinent created a specific configuration I term “indentured masculinity.”

Keywords

Sugar Migration Mercury Stratification Smoke 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Mi, Alisha and Toner, Brenda B. 2001. “Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Attitudes Towards Wife Abuse Among Muslim Women and Men in Canada.” The Journal of Social Psychology 141, 1: 23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beall, Jo. 1990. “Women Under Indentured Labor in Colonial Natal, 1860–1911,” in C. Walker ed., Women and Gender in Southern Africa to 1945. Cape Town: David Philip. 146–167.Google Scholar
  3. Bhana, S. 1991. Indentured Indian Emigrants to Natal 1860–1902. A Study Based on Ships Lists. New Delhi: Promilla.Google Scholar
  4. Carter, M. 1995. Servants, Sirdars, and Settlers: Indians in Mauritius, 1834–1874. Oxford: Oxford University South Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  5. —. 1996. Voices from Indenture: Experiences of Indian Migrants in the British Empire (New Historical Perspectives on Migration). Leicester: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chowdhry, Prem. 1990. “Customs in a Peasant Economy. Women in Colonial Haryana.” in K. Sangari and S. Vaid eds., Recasting Women. Essays in Indian Colonial History. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Clare, A. 2000. On Men: Masculinity in Crisis. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  8. Connell, R. W. 1995. Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cornwall, Andrea and Lindisfarne, Nancy. 1993. “Dislocating Masculinity. Gender, Power and Anthropology,” in A. Cornwall and N. Lindisfarne eds., Dislocating Masculinity. Comparative Ethnographies. London: Routledge. 1–23.Google Scholar
  10. Janssens, Angelique. 1997. “The Rise and Decline of the Male Breadwinner Family? An Overview of the Debate.” International Review of Social History 42: 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kale, Madhavi. 1999. Fragments of Empire: Capital, Slavery, and Indian Indentured Labor Migration in the British Caribbean. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  12. Loizos, Peter. 1993. “A Broken Mirror: Masculine Sexuality in Greek Ethnography,” in A. Cornwall and N. Lindisfarne eds., Dislocating Masculinity. Comparative Ethnographies. London: Routledge. 66–81.Google Scholar
  13. MacDonald, G., Holmes, J. G., and Murray, S. L. 1997. “Self-Esteem and Relationship Identity.” Canadian Psychology 38: 76–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Meer, Y. 1980. Documents of Indentured Labour in Natal, 1851–1917. Durban: Institute for Black Research.Google Scholar
  15. Meldrum, J. 1893. “The Moharrem Festival in Natal.” Title of journal unknown, dated 1893. Housed at the Killie Campbell Library. PAM 297 MEL.Google Scholar
  16. Mesthrie, R. 1992. English in Language Shift: The History, Structure and Sociolinguistics of SAIE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. —. 1991. Language in Indenture: A Sociolinguistic History of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa. Johannesburg: Witwatersand University Press.Google Scholar
  18. —. 1988. “New Lights from Old Languages: Indian Languages and the Experience of Indentureship in South Africa,” in S. Bhana ed., Essays on Indentued Indians in Natal. Leeds: Peepal. 189–208.Google Scholar
  19. Mohapatra, Prabhu. 1997. “Asian Labour: Culture, Consciousness, Representation.” Paper presented at conference on “Asian Labour: A Debate on Culture, Consciousness and Representations,” Manila, October 23–25.Google Scholar
  20. Morrell, Robert. 1998. “Of Boys and Men: Masculinity and Gender in Southern African Studies.” Journal of Southern Africa Studies 24, 4 (December): 605–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. —. (ed.), 2001. Changing Men in Southern Africa. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  22. —. 2001a. From Boys to Gentlemen: Settler Masculinity in Colonial Natal, 1880–1920. Pretoria: UNISA Press.Google Scholar
  23. Scott, James C. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. Connecticut: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Seidler, V. 1997. Man Enough: Embodying Masculinities. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Sharma, Ursula. 1980. Women, Work, and Property in North-West India. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  26. Stern, Robert W. 1993. Changing India. Bourgeois Revolution on the Subcontinent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Swan, M. 1985. Gandhi. The South African Experience. Johannesburg: Ravan Press.Google Scholar
  28. Tayal, M. 1977. “Indian Indentured Labour in Natal, 1860–1911.” Indian Economic and Social History Review XIV, 4: 519–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Vahed, Goolam. 2001. “Race, Class, Community and Conflict: Durban’s Indian Municipal Employees Union, 1914–1949.” Journal of Southern African Studies 27, 1 (March): 104–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. —. 2002. “Constructions of Community and Identity among Indians in Colonial Natal, 1860–1910: The Role of the Muharram Festival.” Journal of African History 43: 77–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Walby, Sylvia. 1990. Theorizing Patriarchy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Whitfield, Stephen M. 2002. Men and Masculinities: Key Themes and New Directions. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lahoucine Ouzgane and Robert Morrell 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Goolam Vahed

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations