In Durban, South Africa, a group of people calling themselves the “Activists for Selvan Inquest” have demanded an inquest into the murder of Selvan Guruvadu and three others, which happened in 1913 during a strike in Natal. The activists claim to be descendants of the indentured labourers from India who worked on sugar plantations in Natal.
Guruvadu died when he was stabbed with an assegai and then shot. A plantation manager, Colin Campbell, was charged with the murder but acquitted.
Gary Govindsamy, a representative of the Guruvadu family said: “Their souls need some kind of closure because they were not given any closure in their death. We need to have them remembered because they played a pivotal role in our liberation. It’s a symbolic charge we want to open. Nobody is going to be charged because the people are dead, but we need to know what has happened for some kind of closure.”
It may be symbolic but don’t discount some extras. Companies such as Tongaat Hulett used indentured labour, and may well find themselves coughing up for ‘atonement’ and ‘reparation’.