Stuck in the middle? Indian South Africans in South Africa’s fading rainbow

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 10
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: This article examines the political and economic position of Indians in post-apartheid South Africa, where they are sandwiched between an economically dominant white class and the majority African population. It provides a brief background on African and Indian relations since the nineteenth century, and examines how and why these were strained at certain historical junctures. Against this background, the article explores issues of identity, nationality and citizenship in the post-apartheid period, which has seen the population of Indian South Africans augmented by new migrants from the Indian subcontinent. It argues that while the rubric of ‘Indian’ has been challenged by increasing class divides and fracturing along religious lines, the legal definition of South Africans according to race and Indians’ relatively privileged position vis-a-vis Africans has seen them come under pressure in a context of widening inequality and a racially exclusive African nationalism. They will remain ‘stuck in the middle’ for the foreseeable future.