Thursday, June 17, 2004

South Indian culture in South Africa

Rethabile at On Lesotho links to the story about a Zulu man who went to India to study South Indian classical music, but has had a hard time getting to perform back in South Africa. This story was also linked to by Murray at Southern Cross, who believes that the singer is a victim of anti-black and anti-Indian prejudice.

While prejudice may play a part in the lack of interest in Patrick Ngcobo's music, something that may be overlooked is the attitude of South Africans of South Indian descent toward their culture.

For example, there was an outcry by some South Indian community activists when SABC3 decided to show some Bollywood (North Indian) movies. Yet, according to SABC 3, the South Indian community seems to show little interest at the box office in South Indian movies.

According to these letters, attempts by Ster Kinekor to show South Indian movies, and South African South Indian satellite television and radio channels seem to have flopped, due to a lack of interest.

The South Indian community has been in South Africa for more than 140 years, and I would guess that Ngcobo's predicament is less a symptom of racial prejudice than a simple (and understandable) lack of interest of South Africans of South Indian descent in "their culture"- a culture that they have not been a part of for about five generations.