The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Augsburg College]On: 28 June 2014, At: 09:17Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Social Dynamics: A journal ofAfrican studiesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rsdy20

    The Black Atlantic Meets the IndianOcean: Forging New Paradigms ofTransnationalism for the GlobalSouth Literary and CulturalPerspectivesIsabel Hofmeyr a ba University of the Witwatersrand , South Africab University of the Witwatersrand , E-mail:Published online: 11 Aug 2008.

    To cite this article: Isabel Hofmeyr (2007) The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean: ForgingNew Paradigms of Transnationalism for the Global South Literary and Cultural Perspectives,Social Dynamics: A journal of African studies, 33:2, 3-32, DOI: 10.1080/02533950708628759

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  • SOCIAL DYNAMICS 33 .2 ( 2 0 0 7): 3 - 3 2

    The Black Atlantic Meets the IndianOcean: Forging New Paradigms ofTransnationalism for the Global SouthLiterary and Cultural Perspectives'Isabel Hofmeyr

    AbstractWith the recent transnational turn in the humanities and social sciences,questions of translocalism have come to dominate the academic agenda.Where southern African studies has engaged with transnationalism, this hasgenerally been pursued through the framework of the black Atlantic. Thisarticle argues that we need to supplement this perspective with a systematicengagement with the Indian Ocean. The article outlines various majorhistoriographical traditions associated with the Indian Ocean and thenseeks to draw out how these themes challenge assumptions which have beentheorised on the basis of black Atlantic patterns. The paper concludes witha discussion of how a consideration of the Indian Ocean would enlarge themaps ofSouth African literary and cultural studies.

    As the humanities and social sciences take an increasingly tra nsnationalturn, the acade mic marketplace has become crowded with models thatseek to explain the phenomena of globalisation and translocalism. Almostwithout exception, this scholarship has focused on north-south modes oftran snationalism. Indeed the terminology itself, like the word globalisation,thro ugh its apparent neutrality appears to imply transnational processesemanating from the west and the n radiating outward.

    But what of transnationalism within the south itself? What of non-western sources of globalisation, or processes of transnationalism thathappen without reference to Europe? That these questions are of pressingimport is apparent if we turn to some stati stics . Trade between South Africaand India shot up from R300 million in 1993 to R16.5 billion in 2006. By

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  • 4 T H E BL A C K A TLANTIC M EETS TH E I N D IAN OCE AN

    2005, Chinese tr ade with Africa as a whole had reached $30 billion. South-south tr ade is expanding faster than any other trade flow in the world - atabout 11 percent per year.

    From a number of perspectives, th en, it is critical to engage with debateson transnat ionalism in th e global south. This paper seeks to outline onepossible framework for addressing such a task. In brief, it suggests thatwe look qu ite literally at our locat ion in southern Africa - between twooceans - and see what ana lytica l purchase that may provide. Put in slightlydifferent term s, what can we der ive from th inking abo ut th ree intersectingframeworks: the black Atlantic , the Indian Ocean and Africa itself? Ininvestigating these issues, th e paper argues that insofar as southe rn Africa nliterary studies has pursued transnational the mes, these have generally beendone in a framework of the black Atlanti c. These approaches have producedwork of value. We need to bui ld on th is legacy and at the same tim e extend itby th inking more abo ut the Indian Ocean and its intersectio ns with, but alsoits differences from , the black Atlantic.

    The paper proceeds in three parts. It begins with some historiograph icalclear ing of the decks and draws out the major trajectories of anglophonescholarship on the black Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Secondly, I ask whatdifference the Ind ian Ocean makes. W hat broader theoret ical issues doesit raise? Does it unsettl e and relativise some of the Atlantic categories th atwe have come to acce pt as 'nor mal'? Thirdly, I atte mpt to translate thesecategories into the field of southern African literature and to demonstratehow a consideration of the Ind ian Ocean alongside that of the black Atlanticwould produce novel definiti ons of southern African literature.

    Historiographies

    The Black AtlanticLet us begi n with th e easies t part of the histor iographical equatio n, namely,th e black Atlantic. The term is of course so well known that, like a famousguest, it requires no intro duction. In brief, the phrase has become a shorthandterm for understanding th e Atlantic seaboa rd as the site for the emerge nceof capita list modernity as a tr ansnational system. This articulating systemin and across th e ocea n draws in the African slave trade, the Americanplantation eco nomies and the Europ ean industries that these enabled. From

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  • ISA BEL HOF M EYR

    the sixteenth century onwards, the peoples of the Atlantic are hurtled intothis vortex of modernity, some more violently than others (Gilroy, 1993;Rediker, 1987; Linebaugh and Rediker, 2000). In C.L.R. James's famousdictum, slaves become the first modern people (1992 [1962]: 296-97).

    Historians like Marcus Rediker (1987) and Peter Linebaugh (2000) havedescribed the historical networks linking Atlantic ports, jails, barracoons,ships and plantations and how ideas of freedom and equality are made bysailors, slaves, prostitutes, dockworkers and pirates working in and acrossthese sites. Building in part on Rediker, Paul Gilroy (1993) has deepened theanalysis to understand the Atlantic as a site of transnational black modernityneither African nor American, Caribbean or British, but a complex translationof these various traditions into something new.

    The paradigm of the black Atlantic (whether known by this term or not)has long been active in southern African literary studies. As Laura Chrismanhas indicated, it has informed Sol Plaatje's thinking and is apparent in hisinteractions with W.E.B. du Bois (2003: 89-106). In Songs of Zion , a historyof the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Africa, James Campbelldemonstrates how ideas of heaven have been shaped in the black Atlantic(1995). In The Af rican Image, Ezekiel (Es'kia) Mphahlele describes the roleof black Atlantic cultural formations in South Africa as a 'dialogue acros s thesea' (1974 [1967]: 96). Tim Couzens (1982) has written of the 'transatlanticconnection' and the impact of American-sponsored philanthropic projectsin the 1920s and 1930s in dampening the radical edges of black urbancultural formations, a th eme that Bheki Peterson has taken up more recentlyin Monarch s, Missionaries and African Intellectuals (2000). The world ofAfrican-American music , style and fashion has been a powerful influenceand much work has traced out the interplay of African-American and SouthAfrican imaginaries. On e thinks of Rob Nixon (1994) exarriining Harlemin Sophiatown, or Dorothy Driver (2001) studying the images of women inDrum magazine, or Michael Titlestad (2004) exploring transatlantic musicalforms and their improvisor y interaction with literature.

    There are of course voices que stioning the limits of the paradigm of theblack Atlantic. Chrisman has pointed to the generalisations produced by it,one of which celebrates all transnationalism as good and all nationalism asbad. As her work oil Plaatje and Peter Abrahams indicates, nationalism isnot the opposite of transnationalism and the one can foster the other while

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  • 6 TH E BLAC K ATLA N TIC M EET S THE I N D IAN OCE A N

    transnationalism can produce its own forms of exclusion (Chrisman, 2005:252-71). Another questioning voice has been Ntongela Masilela (1996), whohas pointed to the virtual absence of Africa in Gilroy's discussion of the blackAtlantic.

    The Indian OceanLet us move now to the Indian Ocean, a cultural and economic system ofconsiderable antiquity, in some accounts stretching back 5,000 years. SugataBose in his recent book A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in an Age ofGlobal Imperialism has characterised the Indian Ocean as an 'interregionalarena' (2005: 6), a set of articulating trade systems that have interlinkedMalays , Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Africans. It is an arena in which Britain,Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the USAcame into contact with Africa, the Middle East and the Orient.

    Before the rise of steam power in the Indian Ocean, the core of its tradenetworks resided in the alternating monsoon winds blowing from thenortheast between November and April and from the northwest betweenJune and October. The historiography of the Indian Ocean is not quite asancient as these winds, but has been blowing for millennia, particularlyin the dominant written langu ages of the Ocean, namely, Arabic, Persian ,Gujarati and Swahili.

    The modern anglo phone historiography of the Indian Ocean World ,while of relatively recent provenance, constitutes an extensive and complexarchive. Firstly, there have been numerous popular traditions of representingthe Indian Ocean, parts of which belong to a type of orientalism at sea. Theseinclude popular accounts like Richard Hall's Empires of the Monsoon (1996)and T.Y. Bulpin's excellent Islands in a Forgotten Sea (n.d.). Other examplesare Tintin's adventures, som e of which unfold in the Indian Ocean (Herge ,1960), as well as numerous stories of pirates and boy's own adventure andtales of derring-do.

    With regard to more academic analyses, the Indian Ocean has beenconsidered from a range of vantage points. There are of course voluminousscholarships devoted to the different geographical regions around theIndian Ocean littoral (Mozambique; the Swahili Coast; the Horn; etc.), thesegenerally falling under the various categories of Area Studies that dividethe Indian Ocean World (lOW): Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South

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  • ISA BEL HOFME YR 7

    East Asia and Australia. Our concern is somewhat different and engages thetraditions of scholarship that have sought to understand the Indian Ocean asa network (Kearney, 2004; McPherson, 1993; Pearson, 2003; Toussaint 1966;Verges, 2003).

    A central focus in this work has been an emphasis on the mechanics,scope and scale of the long distance trade that shuttled between the majorport cities of the lOW and well-beyond. One emphasis in this work has beenon the non-violent nature of the trade. Amitav Ghosh, in his remarkabletravelogue /history/memoir In an Antique Land (1992), has explored thispeaceful long -distance trade of the Indian Ocean as a way of drawing acontrast with .the contemporary world divided into militarised nations.Engseng Ho makes a similar point in his work on the Hadrami diaspora inthe Indian Ocean; th is ancient diaspora that reached out from south Yemendeep into the Indian Ocean was not backed by an armed state:

    The Portuguese , Dutch, and English in the Indian Ocean were strangenew traders who brought their state with them. The y created militarizedtrading-post empires in the Indian Ocean, following Venetian and Genoeseprecedent s in the Medit erranean , and were wont to do busin ess at thepoint of a gun. Hadr amis and other non-Europeans - such as Gujarati s,Bohra s, Chettiars, Buginese, and Malays - did not. (Ho, 2006: xxi)

    In Ho's phrasing, 'non-Europeans entered into relations with locals that weremore intimate, sticky, and prolonged than the Europeans could countenance'(ibid).

    As Bose points out, while there is a rich tradition of work on the distantpast of the Indian Ocean world , there is comparatively less on the nineteenthand twentieth centuries. One notable exception has been the work of MarkRavinder Frost (2002), which has started to outline a distinctive IndianOcean public sphere that flourished from the 1880s to the 1920s. Basedin the port cities of the Indian Ocean and sustained by the intelligentsiasof intersecting diasporas, this public sphere was rooted in pan-religiousmovements, be these Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu. As Frost notes, thediasporic intelligentsias of the port cities shared 'similar concerns forreform and oversaw parallel campaigns for religious revival, educationalimprovement and constitutional change' (2002: 937). These intellectualcircuits produced a world of crosscutting and contesting universalisms,

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  • 8 THE BLA CK ATL A NTIC MEE TS THE IND IAN OC EAN

    producing a view of colonialism less as an encounter of the local and theglobal than as a contestation of different universalisms.

    The Indian Ocean provides an arena in which such universalisms ofthe south become apparent. What have some of these universalisms been?Another way to phrase thi s issue is to ask: what are the unifying themes ofthe lOW? Given the breadth and depth of the Indian Ocean scholarship,there are numerous answers to this question apparent from the differentways in which scholars 'carve up' the ocean analyticall y. Recurrent rubricsare trade, capital and labour; religion (often linked to trade); pilgrimage;travel ; war, colonial rule and anti-colonial movements; and port towns.Other themes focus on particular groupings like Muslims, the Portuguese,British rule and so on .

    The outline of the story that these themes explore is well-known. Oncemastered by mariners, the monsoon enabled deep-sea travel and trade in theIndian Ocean. These trade networks were further consolidated and promotedby the spread of Islam in the Indian Ocean from the eighth century onward,which helped to weave together a series of cosmopolitan port cities : Kilwa,Mombasa, Malindi, Mogadishu , leddah, Aden , Muscat, Cambay, Calicutand so on. Islam provided the dominant idiom of public life in most coastalcities and promoted new categories of travellers, most notably pilgrims,administrators and schol ars using Arabic as an international language.Islam provides a 'grammar' of the Indian Ocean, and one of its modes ofuniversalism that facilitated cosmopolitan exchange and mobility over vastareas (Kearney, 2004; Risso, 1995; Fattah, 2002; Fawaz and Bayly, 2002).

    The Portuguese arrived in the Indian Ocean in the late fifteenth century,to be followed by the Dutch, Danish, French, British, Germans and,subsequently, Italians. By some accounts, the arrival of European firepowermarked a great divide in Indian Ocean history, with an apparently peacefulperiod of unarmed trade followed by the increasing militarisation andconflict precipitated by the intrusion of Europeans. Hall's Empires of theMonsoon exemplifies this narrative; subtitled 'A History of the Indian Oceanand its Invaders; the book's first two parts are 'A World Apart' and 'TheCannons of Christendom' (1996).

    This model of Indian Ocean prelapsarian innocence torn asunder byEuropean violence has been questioned. Ashin Das Gupta (2004) hasfamously demonstrated that the decline of the Indian Ocean trade has less to

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  • ISAB EL HOF ME Y R 9

    do with European power than with circumstances internal to India . Lookingat the pepper trade, he narrates how struggle over control of the trade inMalabar and Mysore in the early 1700s led to its collapse. Like all othertraders, Europeans until at least the eighteenth century had to accommodatethemselves to local conditions, conventions and credit networks. Theywere part of the Asian trading order. It was only with the rise of the Britishsteamships, maritime control, standing armies, the Suez Canal, electrictelegraphy and a range of other technological apparatus that the IndianOcean began to resemble a 'British Lake' (Bose, 2005: 274). However, asRajat Kanta Ray has demonstrated, the rise of colonial power did not meanthe end of the extensive Indian and Chinese trade and credit networks.Under the radar of European imperial authority, Gujarati, Sind and Chinesetrade and credit networks continued to operate in those areas - like EastAfrica, Muscat and South East Asia - that were never equivocally under onecolonial power, or where colonial control was a long time coming, or where'large Western bankers could or would not go' (Ray, 1995: 552). Within thisbroader framework let us focus in on the two themes that have a literarypertinence: 'Islands' and 'People and Passages:

    IslandsOne broad theme in Indian Ocean Studies has been the idea of the islandas an epitome of Indian Ocean experiences of slavery and indenture. Muchscholarship has sought to understand the islands as Creole spaces, as thehistories of people without reference to nation: a kind of ultra-Caribbeanmodel of European, African and Asian traditions being violently broughttogether. Various scholars have used the island experiences as a way ofgenerating concepts to think about the Indian Ocean world more generally.Some of these ideas , like 'creolite; or the term 'antillanite' from EdouardGlissant, are of Caribbean provenance, whilst being made to include IndianOcean Island experiences (Carter and Torabully, 2002).

    Other ideas have sought to be more Indian Ocean specific, like theMauritian concept of Indienoceanisme, or that of 'coolitude' put forward byMauritian poet Khal Torabully and historian Marina Carter (2002). 'Coolitude'shapes itself in relation to 'negritude; but recognises that 'negritude' does notaccount for the complexity of post-abolition societies, particularly as thesedeveloped in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. It seeks to revalorise the term

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  • 10 T H E BLA CK ATLA NTIC M EETS THE IND IAN OC EAN

    'coolie; turning a term of abuse against itself in a form of empowerment. Thecentral motif of coolitude is the voyage, which becomes the site of traumaand loss but also a 'metonymy of cultural encounters; in the words of theBelgian critic Veronique Bragard (qtd . in Carter and Torabully, 2002: 15).She continues:

    Th e cro ssing of the Kala Pani ['black water' ] constitutes the first movementof a series of abusive and culturally stifling situations. By making thecross ing central, Coo litude avoids any essentialism and connection withan idealized Moth er India, which is clearly left behind. It discloses theCoolie's story which has been shipwrecked ('erased') in the ocean of aWestern-made historical discourse as well as a world of publication andcriticism. (ib id)

    In Torabully's words, 'coolitude posits an encounter, an exchange of histories,of poetics or visions of the world , between tho se of African descent and ofIndian descent, without excluding other sources' (2002: 150). Central toTorabully's poetry is what he calls the 'Book of the Voyage' (2002: 15), a wayof making legible the erased experiences of indenture.

    People and PassagesA second approach to exploring th e unity of the Indian Ocean is through thepeople that have crisscrossed its waters. This theme seeks to investigate themovement of slaves, indentured labourers, settlers and migrants over the lastthree centuries. Let us examine three groups: slaves, indentured labourersand free migrants.

    Indian Ocean SlaveryWork on the Indian Ocean slave trade generally seeks to establi sh itsdistinctiveness in relation to the Atlantic trade (Campbell, 2004a; Segal,2001). The Indian Ocean has seen many different slave trades stretchingback some 4,000 years. The rise of Islam and the commercial expansion itoccasioned spurred an increase in the scale of the trade, as did the growth ofport cities and their need for cheap labour. The rise of plantation economiesin the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Mauritius and Zanzibar furtherstimulated the trade, along with European involvement from the sixteenthcentury onwards. The trade was multidirectional with people moving withinAfrica, from Africa to the Middle East, and from the eighteenth century

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  • ISA BEL HOFM EYR 11

    onwards to the islands, to India and the Americas. Indian slaves wereshipped to Indonesia, the islands, Cape Town and the Middle East whileIndonesians were moved to South East Asia and Cape Town; and Africanswere transported from the Mozambican coastline to Cape Town and theIndian Ocean Islands (Campbell, 2004a).

    The differences from the Atlantic model have been summarised byGwyn Campbell: the Indian Ocean trade was largely female, not male; itinvolved predominantly household slaves rather than plantation workers;the boundaries between slave and free were much more blurred than in theAtlantic; and , furthermore, the association of race and slavery did not existin any marked form (Campbell, 2004b) .

    Indentu red LabourThe Indian Ocean became one of the major sites for the deployment ofindentured labour. As slavery was outlawed in the British Empire in 1834,plantation owners faced a looming labour crisis which was addressed bythe widespread use of Indian indentured workers. This massive movementof indentured labour has generated its own historiography, which for sometime sought to distinguish indenture from slavery, on the one hand, and from'free' European migration, on the other (Tinker, 1974). These categories havealso come to be raciali sed (Carter, 1996; Northrup, 1995). In the popularimagination, slaves are African, indentured labourers are Indian, whilecolonial settlers are white.

    This popular image is of course incorrect. There were Indian slavesjust as there were small numbers of African and European indenturedworkers (Northrup, 1995). Equally, as one labour historian has noted, 'mostof Europ e's fifty million emigrants were labour recruits [...] indenturedlabourers became small farmers and leaseholders in the sugar colonies' (qtd.in Carter, 1996: 3). The distinction between indentured labourer and settleris hence blurred, just as that between slave and free in the Indian Ocean isnot always clear.

    The tendency now is to see these racialised distinctions as emergingout of colonial discourses and modes of government. The process ofmoving, categorising, controlling and administering labour became a sitefor constructing ideas of race and for formulating ideas of biopoliticalpopulations. Jonathan Klaaren 's work (2004) has demonstrated that ideas

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  • 12 THE BLAC K ATLA NT IC M EET S TH E I N DI AN OC EA N

    of South African citizenship first emerge in relation to laws of immigrationand practices of administration formulated in relation to 'Asians' (namelyindentured Indian and Chinese workers) . A South African citizen is initiallydefined in the 1920s as a person who is not a prohibited immigrant. AsKlaaren demonstrates, this xenophobic understanding of citizenship hasinteresting resonances with our contemporary situation.

    The new labour historiography in the Indian Ocean, while being alertto different categories of labour, points to the value of grouping togetheranalytically different types of labour in and across the Indian Ocean(Carter, 1996). The Indian Ocean can hence be seen as an arena of colonialexperimentation in the control of unfree labour, whether it be slave, convict,indentured or apparently voluntary 'free' migration. Significant numbersof convicts, for example, were moved around the Indian Ocean, some tothe Andaman Islands, India's Robben Island (Anderson, 2005). Equally,the administration of indentured labour became an important site forexperiments in colonial governmentality. Mauritius, for example, was thefirst place in the world to use photography for purposes of government(Breville, 1999: 399).

    Also linked to this form of labour control is the world of lascars orAfrican and Asian seamen, who emerged as a specific category of maritimelabour under the British (Balachandran, 2003; Ewald, 2000). The Empire hadextensive communication and transport networks and hence an insatiabledemand for cheap labour to build ports and man steamships. The group whofulfilled these roles was comprised of African and Asian seamen who cameto be subject to particular labour contracts that pegged their wages at one-third to one-fifth of European sailors' pay. They also signed contracts whichprevented them from settling in Britain such that most lascars can be seen aslong -distance migrant contract labour.

    Free MigrantsThe Indian Ocean was a zone for many itinerants: pilgrims, administrators,soldiers, sailors, traders and merchants. The most well-known examples ofthis voluntary migration were South Asian migrants who moved to EastAfrica and southern Africa (Bhana and Brain, 1990; Gregory, 1971). Thepresence of Gujarati merchants in East Africa goes back many centuries,and it was these traders who also had networks stretching inland into the

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  • ISABEL HOFME YR 13

    interior (Alpe rs, 1976). W ith th e adve nt of indentured labour to bu ild EastAfrican railways, th e po pulation of traders increased. In th e late nineteent hcentury, as Empi re mad e its belated way into East Africa, Britai n exploitedthe pathways and links established by these trader s (Gregory, 1971) . Therewere also free migr ati ons fro m Africa outward. Africans, for exa mple,migrated to ot her parts of the Indian Ocean fro m th e th irt eenth centuryonwards, not only as slaves bu t also as 'po licemen, trad er s, bureau crats,clerics, bodygu ard s, co nc ubines, servants, so ldiers and sailor s' (Jayas uriyaand Pankhurst , 2003: 7; d. Ali, 1995) .

    To summarise , th en : if the Ind ian Ocean operates or has operated as anetwork, its unity resides in a myriad of fac tors: trade , capita l, religion , war,pilgrims, port s, shi ps, slaves , indentured workers, clerics, sailo rs, creditorsand commodities (Bose notes that bet ween th e six teenth and nineteent hcenturies, most Indian Ocean inhabita nts wore Indian cotton from Gujarat,Coromandel or Ben gal [2005: 12]).

    The Indian Ocean: So what?Let us turn now to ask the qu est ion of wha t differen ce th e Indian Oceanmight make. Firs t, however, a cavea t: one da nger of trying to gene raliseabout th e Ind ian Ocean is th at one ends up making too sta rk a dichotomywith th e Atlantic. In such a co ntrast, th e Indian Ocean ap pears pre-mo dern,a zone of t im eless Islam as aga ins t th e modern ism of th e capita list Atlantic;in such analyses, the Indian Ocean emerges as the zone of lost innocence ,in some ways like th e mythical lost cont ine nt Lernur ia, which by so meaccounts lay origina lly to th e so uth of Ind ia before it sank without trace. Inher work on Lemuria , Sumath i Ramaswamy looks at th e history of th e lostcontinent as an idea in European science, th en in co lonia l th in king aboutInd ia, then in Tam il nationalism (in which Lem uria becomes the lost Tamilhomeland ) (Ramaswamy, 1999; 2002) . In brief, Lemuria becomes freightedwith nost algia for a pristine pre-modernity, one of the templates producedby roma ntic co nceptions of th e Indian Ocean. Instead , we need to think ofthe Indian Ocean as the site par exce llence of 'altern ative mo dernities; thoseformatio ns of mo dernity th at have taken shape in an archive of deep an dlayered existi ng social and intellectual tr ad it ions.

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  • 14 TH E BL A CK ATLANTIC MEET S T H E INDIAN OC EAN

    Who is a Slave?As the discussion of Campbell (2004a & 2004b) has already indicated, theIndian Ocean makes a difference to the question of 'who is a slave' or, put indifferent terms, understandings of the relationship of slavery and freedom.In this regard, the Atlantic model has become invisibly normative. Thestate of slave and free are clearly demarcated and, furthermore, racialised.This starkness plays itself out in a number of domains. In much politicaltheorisation, notions of subjectivity, sovereignty, autonomy and freedomtend to pivot on the idea that slavery and freedom are neatly separablestates. This absolute distinction is also apparent in traditions of anti-colonialthinking and the hydraulic paradigms of domination and resistance to which

    . these give rise . In such analyses, the domain of ruler and ruled, oppressorand oppressed, are apparently distinct and legible.

    Slavery in the Indian Ocean is more complex: the line between slave andfree is constantly shifting and changing. As Campbell argues (2004b), thebulk of slaves in the Indian Ocean were generally not located in plantationsettings and were instead integrated into households. The possibilitiesfor mobility or manumission were consequently greater. Debt slavery orpawning of a lineage member were also strategies followed in times ofcatastrophe, such as drought or famine. The hope, however, was that theseconditions were not permanent.

    The meanings of freedom and slavery, then, are complex and shifting.Such reminders are useful in a post-apartheid context where the glamourof narratives of domination and resistance has worn thin. Indeed suchnarratives are now being rehabilitated as part of an official state history. Aspolitical theorists have shown elsewhere in the continent, our understandingsof power need to be more complex than this binary idea implies. AchilleMbernbe's work has demonstrated the intimate co-habitation of ruler andruled (2001). Similarly, other political theorists like Iean-Francois Bayart(1993) and Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz (1999) have critiquedexcessive dichotomisations of African society into popular and elite, highand low. Whatever the asymmetries of power between these groups, they arestill linked by populist networks of clientilism and dependency.

    Understanding political discourse and action, then, becomes a task ofunderstanding a complex layered precolonial, colonial and postcolonialarchive in which versions of modernity are negotiated in an ever-shifting set

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  • ISABEL HOFME Y R 1 5

    of idioms around 'tradition: One area of Africa that provides a particularlyrich source for understanding such interactions is the Swahili Coast. Here , asJonathan Glassman (1994) brilliantly demonstrates, a range of constituencies- inland societies, Islamic Swahili patrician families, an urban crowd madeup of slave and plebeians, all under the rule of the Omani sultans - shapeda series of cosmopolitan public cultures that revolved around the politicsof reputation and the contested terrain of public reciprocity and display. Inthese ritual displa ys, power itself - for example, patriarchy - was not directlychallenged; rather, its meanings, rights and obligations were contested.Colonial intervention was a belated entrant in this complex world and had toaccommodate itself to the contours carved out in many centuries of IndianOcean interaction.

    One novel which explores this terrain superbly is Abdulrazak Gurnah'sParadise (1994). Set on the eve of World War I on the Swahili coast, thenovel examines the trajectory of Yusuf, pawned by his father to a wealthymerchant relative to offset his debt. The novel examines the complexinteraction between African, Indian, Arabic, German and British forms ofoppression. What does slavery mean in this context? What does freedommean? What is agency? Such novels, while not strictly speaking southernAfrican, are important since they begin to open up the complexities of theIndian Ocean and help us understand the forms of modernity it produces.This is a task that others are beginning to take on. Leila Tarazi Fawaz andCA. Bayly in Modernity and Culture: From the Mediterranean to the IndianOcean (2002) have started to examine the forms of cosmopolitan modernitythat have emerged through the interaction of Middle Eastern and SouthAsian societies and how they have adapted and rewritten forms of Europeanmodernity, picking up themes like printing, urban Islam and the universalidioms of Islam more generally.

    Who is a Settler?Ifwe are asked to rethink the meaning of slave, we are also asked to reconsiderthe idea of who is a settler. As indicated above, the older historiographydefined this term racially. Settlers were those who came from the north,were generally considered free and were headed tautologically for settlercolonies . Indentured workers were from the south, were unfree and headedfor sugar colonies. However, indentured workers often become settlers and

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  • 16 THE BLAC K A TLA N TIC M EET S T H E IN D IAN OC EAN

    attempted to insert themselves into the discourses of settlerdom. 1960, forexample, marked the centenary of the arrival of the first Indian indenturedworkers in Natal. The celebrations for this event went under the rubric of'The 1860 settlers' (Pather, 1960), in turn a riposte to the idea of the '1820settlers; the myth of origin built up by white English-speaking intellectuals inresponse to growing Afrikaner nationalism. The idea of Indian settlers wasalso well-developed in relation to East Africa, where Indians were portrayedas 'opening up ' the interior and being the true 'pioneers: M.K. Gandhifrequently wrote about these settlers, whom he characterised as better thanthe English since they did not drink and did not have the Bible (Gandhi, 1919;Anon., 1921; Tadvalkar, 1919) .

    These narratives raise far-reaching questions about settlers and Empire.Who was a settler? What was Imperialism? Whose Empire was it? One novelthat dramatises these issues is the Gujarati children's classic Dariyalal ('Lordof the Seas') by Gunvantrai Acharya, abridged and translated by KamalSanyal (2000 [1974)). The story unfolds in a Gujarati settlement in Zanzibarin the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and focuses on Ram ,a ruthless slave trader. Virtually as the narrative begins, he has a change ofheart about slavery and, by the end, has persuaded the Zanzibari Gujaratisto give up slavery and shift to waged clove production. Interspersed in thisnarrative is a colonial adventure genre in which Ram saves John Dunkirkfrom cannibal tribes (Dunkirk is a fictional member of Mungo Park 's partywho has somehow made his way from West to East Africa). Thrown intothis mixture is the inevitable Ram and Sita myth (Ram and Sita being theromantic protagonists of the Ramayana), and a Hindu reformist agenda withthe good guys in the novel opposing caste. Seen from a southern Africanperspective, Acharya's novel asks us to recontextualise a range of genres:the settler story, the anti-slavery narrative, the colonial adventure tale andthe genre of romance. A similar set of realignments emerges if one looksat another set of Indian Ocean migrations, namely those associated withGoans. At a recent colloquium held at the University of the Witwatersrandon 'South Africa-India: Re-imagining the Disciplines; Rochelle Pinto andPamila Gupta presented papers on this theme. Normally subsumed uneasilyunder histories of India, or histories of the 'Indo-Portuguese; a historyof itinerant Goans provides new purchase on old themes of empire andnation. Pinto (2006) demonstrates how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century

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  • ISABE L HO FM EYR 17

    Goans, a marginal group in a marginal empire, exploit the fluidity andambiguity of imperial racial hierarchies, at times playing up their claims toPortugueseness and, at others, erasing their close associations with Africans.Goans attempted to insert themselves into colonial narratives and arenasshaped by interacting racial discourses created by French , British and to alesser extent Portuguese colonial practices. Gupta (2006) examines the Goancommunity who immigrated to Maputo after 1961 (when India took backGoa from the Portuguese), and stayed on after Mozambican independencein 1975. She seeks to use the itinerant nature of this group to investigate theexisting historiography of decolonisation, which generally sees the process assomething not yet complete, as something still unfolding in an evolutionaryframework. Instead Gupta explores 'decolonisation' as an event in its ownright and as a global historical process with multiple effects including theprecipitation of new migration.

    Via Mozambique, of course, the question of Goan narratives makes itsway into southern African literature. Let me dwell on just one example: MiaCouto 's richly comic short story 'How Ascolino Do Perpetuo Socorro Lost hisSpouse' in the collection Voices Made Night (1986). The story is an allegoryof colonial rule and decolonisation in Mozambique, narrated through aGoan protagonist who veers between various identities. When sober, he seeshimself as respectably Indo-Portuguese, when drunk he wants to form analliance with ordinary African Mozambicans, all the while claiming to be inlove with his wife, whom we never see and who is an equivalent of Portugal,the mother country. The story breaks new ground by narrating colonial ruleas comedy. By exploiting the possibilities of Indian Ocean marginality, itpoints the way to a novel set of literary imaginings.

    A consideration of the Indian Ocean thus opens up new avenues forthinking about 'race: One obvious example here would be the way in whichidentities of whiteness are made in Empire, two important nodes being SouthAfrica and Australia. As Jon Hyslop (1999) has demonstrated, ideas of whitelabourism were formulated across a range of different white settler colonies.These ideas of whiteness were also sharpened in the merchant navy, a sitein which sailors were increasingly racialised. As on the South African mines,the skilled jobs were done by 'whites' while the more physically demandingjobs were done by African and Asian sailors called lascars.

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  • 18 TH E BL A C K ATLA NTI C M EET S THE I N D I A N OC EA N

    The growing popularity of theosophy - through figures like AnnieBesant, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott (Van der Veer, 2001: 55-82;Viswanathan, 1998: 177-207) - also opened up new avenues for rethinkingwhiteness in the lOW. There were spiritualist enthusiasts in South Africa ,one of whom was a Mr. G. Williams, a great fan of Parmanand. Williamswrote to Parmanand in India saying , 'This European form I have assumedin this birth has been to me a source of pain and of many difficulties' (qtd.Khursand, 1982: xxi).

    DiasporaAnother term that the Indian Ocean requires us to rethink is 'diaspora' Theword has become central to the postcolonial lexicon and at its broadest isused to describe almost any sort of movement. The widespread academicuse of the word has tended to be most consistently applied to post-1960smovement from the south to the north occasioned by changes to US andEuropean emigration law aimed at attracting more middle class migrants. Incomparison to the nineteenth-century movement of indentured labour, thistwentieth-century movement involved those of a higher social provenance andhence attracted more attention. Much contemporary discussion on diasporaand its associated postcolonial vocabulary of hybridity and hyphenation isimplicitly theorised on the basis of this latter group. The term, however, sitsuneasily in the Indian Ocean. Firstly, the Indian Ocean has been home tofailed diasporas , notably people who move but do not embark on pro jectsof cultural memory and constructing homelands. One notable example isthe movement of African slaves and free migrants to the Middle East andSouth Asia (Jayasuriya and Pankhurst, 2003). These communities generallyretained little memory of Africa or evinced little desire to return.

    Another common use of the term is in relation to the movement of Indiansto Africa . Here it makes a bit more sense, but as Patrick Eisenlohr's work onMauritius indicates, the term 'diaspora, as it unfolds in parts of the IndianOcean, requires revision. Analyses of Indian diaspora, Eisenlohr notes, havemoved through three stages (2006: 227-65) . Initially, from th e 1960s, analysesof Indians who had migrated focused on questions of survivals and traces:how had 'Indian culture' generally understood as caste and the joint familysurvived or changed as it moved to new locales? A second wave of analysestended more towards stressing the invention of diasporic communities

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  • ISABEL HOFM EY R 19

    rather than seeing them as 'transplants' who automatically looked back toan 'original' homeland. This set of approaches focused more on how certainthemes like purity and pollution were invented and reinvented. A thirdorientation has been to examine diasporic communities as colonial andpostcolonial constructions: 'highlighting the colonial aspects of migrationhas accounted for both the shaping of Indian communities overseas out ofhighly heterogeneous groups of immigrants, and the deep transformationsthey have undergone in the contexts of empire and indenture' (Eisenlohr,2006: 233). Eisenlohr summarises: 'existing studies have shown that Indiandiasporic communities can by no means be considered exten sions of India'(ibid).

    There is currently excellent work being done on Indian fiction in SouthAfrica and East Africa by, amongst others, Devarakshanam Govinden(forthcoming), Ronit Fainman-Frenkel (2004), Rajendra Chetty (2002) andDan Ojwang (2004). This narrative archive has already illuminated theinvention of diaspora, and will continue to do so. Thi s work in turn formspart of a growing reassessment of how to write and think about the historyof indentured communities. Put in crude terms, this history has untilrecently been a story of one-way movement that examines the migration ofindentured workers from India to various parts of the world. The question ofwhat such migration means for India or what the intellectual formations inthe diaspora mean for developments back home have seldom been explored.The 'new' post-1960s diaspora from India to the north has of courseattracted much more attention. The 'old' indentured diaspora of the south,however, is little studied in India itself and is instead consigned to scholarsin the diasporic peripheries, as Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie noted in a keynoteaddress at 'South Africa-India: Reimagining the Disciplines' (University ofWitwatersrand,2006) .

    As she went on to show, this situation is starting to change, most notablywith the work of John Kelly (1991) on Fiji and Tejaswini Niranjana (1999)on Trinidad. Both of these texts take up themes of gender and diaspora.Niranjana's work on the Trinidadian diaspora and its mutual imbricationwith Indian nationalism charts out how India and its indentured diasporasmark each other. She demonstrates how the definition of the upper caste lmiddle class Indian women in nationalist discourse depended on a disavowalof lower caste women, who were actually or imaginatively dispatched to

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  • 20 TH E B LACK A TLA NT IC ME ET S THE I N D I A N OCEA N

    indentured locations far away. Lower caste women in the diaspora wereportrayed as being corrupted by the indenture system or as embodying thetrope of Hindu female virtue under threat, a theme that Kelly develops atlength. This trope was energetically propagated back in India and came tounite a range of anti-colonial constituencies in a concerted campaign todemand the end of indenture. Niranjana's work importantly highlights thetheme of disavowed modernity. Those in the diaspora embark on their ownmodernist projects changing ideas about caste, gender and religion. Veryoften, these forms of modernity are reflected back in India but generallyin ways that portray the lower caste and class modernity of indenturedcommunities as undesirable.

    New Textual CircuitsThese movements of ideas back and forth across the Indian Oceanhelp us to see novel textual circuits. One example is drawn from theModern Review, a Calcutta-based journal started in 1907 by RamanandaChatterjee. The journal was an important nationalist forum and, like manynationalist ventures, had a strong reformist agenda particularly with regardto Hinduism, which nationalists sought to 'modernise' and 'rationalise: Thejournal carried extensive reporting on the indentured diaspora and featureda regular column on 'Indians Abroad: Such reporting provides a windowfor understanding how the debates staged in the diaspora were woven intonationalist agendas 'back home: For example, one critical issue in reformist/nationalist debate pertained to caste and the journal often reported on howcaste was being changed for the better by communities in the diaspora. Itmust of course be noted that these were elite communities; when indenturedcommunities abandoned caste, this was invariably seen as loss rather thangain (Hofmeyr, 2006).

    Major figures also entered debates in the diaspora. In 1928, for example,Rabindranath Tagore entered a debate on Fort Hare College, the soleuniversity open to black South Africans at the time. Small numbers of Indianshad long attended Fort Hare; as part of the 1927 Cape Town Agreement,Indian communities were supposed to be given greater access to education.One part of this package was to provide increased access to Fort Hare. SomeSouth African Indians opposed this attempt to classify them with 'natives'and their views were reported back in India. Tagore summoned his full moral

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  • I SA BEL HOFME Y R 2 1

    magister ialism and berated the South Africa n Indian community: 'O ur onlyright to be in South Africa at all is th at Nat ive Africa ns, to whom the soilbelongs, wish us to be th ere; he said (Anon., 1928a: 356; d . Anon., 1928b;1928c).

    These kinds of dialogues and textual traditions have yet to be explore d inany depth . Anoth er example: in June 1928, the Modern Review ran an articleentitled 'South Africa and India : Olive Schre iner's Message' (Andrews, 1928: 641-46). The piece was by c.F. Andrews, the lapsed Anglican missionary whohad become one of Gandhi's close confidantes , and who spent tim e in SouthAfrica where he met Olive Schre iner. The article by Andrews summarisesSchreiner 's Closer Union and then draws out some parallels with Ind ia: 'Indiarepresents an even greate r congeries of races than South Africa; and thestruggle for racial unity in India is many centuries old, while in South Africait has only just begun ' (1928: 642). Th e idea of Olive Schre iner in Calcuttais not one we often think of, but it is a conjunction which holds out excitingpossibilities.

    A furth er example of a somewhat counterintuitive textu al circ ulationcomes from the sto ry of th e repatriated South Africa n Ind ians. As UmaMesthrie (1985) has demonstrated, fro m the 1920s, the South African statemade strenuous attempts to send Ind ians home. Lucrat ive cash offers forrepatriation were made available. Th ose who took them up gave up theirright to return to South Africa. Most repatriates had grea t difficult y fitt ingback into Indian soc iety: they had lost caste and some no longer spoke anyIndian languages. Mos t repatriates ende d up in slum communities in Madrasand Calcutta. Some had extraordinary lives. Muni Gadu and his family wererepatriated and then requested permission to return. Their requ est wasrefused but the fam ily nevertheless caught a ship bound for Dar es Salaamand from there walked 2,500 miles to Natal (Chaturve di and Dayal, 1931).

    The South African Nati onal Archives carries many of the repatri ates'letters pleading to be allowed back. These letters constitu te a yet-to- bestudied cor pus of Ind ian Ocean texts, one that points to the rich possibilityinherent in indenture d histori es seen not as a one-way sto ry but as part of amulti-directional intellectual circulatio n in the Indian Ocean. As Dhupelia-Mesthrie (2006) has argued, such an approach will take us beyond thecurrent status quo in South African Ind ian history, which tends to focusrepetitively on two themes concerni ng South Africa n-Indian relations:

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  • 22 TH E BL A C K A TLAN TIC M EETS T HE IN DI A N OC EAN

    namely, Gandhi and the anti-apartheid struggle. In some instances, scholarsare starting to move beyond these themes. Jon Soske (2006) is examiningthe interactions of Indian and African nationalisms as a way of solving thecurrent situation in which there are two separate historiographies, oneIndian, one African. Paru Raman (2004) has also done groundbreakingwork on Yusuf Dadoo and the way in which his political project is madebetween South Africa and India. There are man y interesting leads to pursuein thinking about the zones of cross-over between Indian and African.D.D.T. Iabavu , for example, was interested in Gandhi's pacificism and in1949 attended the World Pacifist Meeting in India, where he spoke aboutconditions in South Africa (Dhupelia-Mesthrie, 2004: 338). Iabavu is animportant figure in black liberalism and, as Dhupelia-Mesthrie has shown inher brilliant biography Gandhi 's Prisoner? The Life of Gandhi's Son Manilal(2004), a critical dimension in this story would be Gandhi's non-violence andanti-communism, a position that attracted a range of intellectuals includingJordan Ngubane, who wrote for Indian Opinion, the newspaper whichGandhi had started in 1903 (ibid: 339).

    Islands would be central to formulating new textual circuits. There is ofcourse a substantial body of work on the literatures of various Indian Oceanislands. Little of it, however, has attempted to think of these islands in relationto South Africa . Mauritius, for example, has critical sets of interactions withSouth Africa . Darryl Accone's All Under Heaven: The Story of a ChineseFamily in South Africa (2004) not only touches on Mauritius but much ofthe book unfolds on the Indian Ocean, opening up a new vista of narrativepossibilities for South African literary history.

    There seem also to be interesting possibilities in relation to thinkingabout Afrikaans/Dutch literary circuits in the Indian Ocean. One quickexample (taken from ongoing research) pertains to J.L.P. Erasmus, a Boercommandant captured by the British in 1903 and sent (like 9,000 others) asa prisoner of war to India. During his sojourn, Erasmus became interestedin Indian history and culture and on his return to South Africa linked upwith Gandhi and wrote for Indian Opinion (Hofmeyr, 2007). There is also anolder Dutch East India literature that forms an important strand in Afrikaansliterary history and needs to be more fully factored into accounts of SouthAfrican literature.

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  • ISA BEL HOFME Y R 23

    Religious UniversalismsHow might the religiou s universalisms of the Indian Ocean und erwritenew und erstandings of South Africa n literary and cultura l history? On eexample emerges from th e role of reform Hinduism in the Ind ian Ocean,apparent in th e work of the Arya Samaj, which comes to play a central rolein Hindu nati on alism and in overseas Indian communities. Founded inIndia in 1874, the Arya Samaj, like many Hindu reformi st organisat ions,responded to the onslaught of Christian mission evangelisation by seekingto 'modern ise' Hinduism and constitute it as a church- like organisation withcongregations, fixed meet ing times, set texts. As a revivalist organisation,the Samaj had evangelical tend en cies and, both at home and abroad, soughtto 'save' Hindus from lapsing or to reco nvert tho se who had. Th e Samajsent mission arie s out into different parts of the indentured diaspora. Thereis a voluminous scholarship on the Samaj but it run s in two distinct tracks.There is scholarship on the Samaj in India (Jordens, 1997; Rai, 1992 [1915))and then there are min or stud ies of the Samaj elsewhere: in South Africa,Trinidad, East Africa (Vedal ankar and Somera, n.d.; Naidoo , 1992). Withthe exception of Kelly's work on Fiji (1991), there has been no atte mpt tocombine these two tra ditions of scholarship and to treat these areas as oneintegrated space which could illuminate how Samaj debates in the peripheryfeed into debates 'back home' in India. Very often, these debates in Ind iaconcerned thems elves with the limits of Hinduness and with who could bea Hindu. In the indentured periphery, these debates were often dramatisedin extreme form and at times took th e shape of questions about whether anAfrican could be a Hindu. We need intellectual and literary histori es thatcan trace out th ese debates in South Africa and th rough what channels andin what form they are fed back to Ind ia.

    Such a domain will also render visible a series of life stories that unfoldbetween South Africa and Ind ia and have important implications for SouthAfrican literature. Two examples would be the South Africa n born Bhawan iDayal and the Indi an born Bhai Parmanand. Both were Arya Samajists andspent time between South Africa and Indi a (and, in Parmanand 's case, othercountries too).

    Dayal was born in 1892 in Johannesburg, the son of an indentured fathe r.In 1904 he returns to Indi a to complete his scho oling, and takes part in theswadeshi movement, an anti-colonial campaign in response to the partition

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  • 24 T HE BL A CK A TL A NT IC MEET S TH E I N D IA N OC EA N

    of Bengal. He also becom es drawn into the Arya Samaj. Dayal retu rns toNatal in 1912 and participates in Gandhi's satyagraha/passive resistance. Heis imp rison ed and produces his autobiography in Hindi , Hamari KaravasKahani ('Sto ry of my Priso n Life')." In 1914 he produced Dakshin Afriakefa Satyagrah ka Itihas ('History of Passive Resistance in South Africa') thefirst acco unt of passive resista nce in Hindi.' He continues to shut tle betweenSouth Africa and Ind ia and is for many years involved in the Natal IndianCongress, which he represents at annual Ind ian Congress meet ings in India(Agrawal, 1939). There is much more that can be said of Dayal. Some of theimplicatio ns th at his work holds for definitions of South Africa n literatureare its indications that we need to start thinking of Hindi texts as formingpart of the South African literary archive. Dayal's autobiogra phy would forman interesting contribution to debates on both South African life sto ries andpr ison liter ature. Thi s see ms an excellent project for collaboration betweenSouth Africa n and Indi an scholars .

    Let me tu rn briefly to Parm anand, who was born in the Punjab. He isperh aps best known for being sentenced to death by the British in 1915 forparticipat ing in a supposed con spir acy. His sentence was commuted to lifeimprisonm ent on the Andaman Island s and then in 1920 he was released aspart of a general amnesty. Less well-known is the fact that he spent time inPietermaritzburg in 1905 as an Arya Sam aj representative, where he startedthe Hindu Young Men's Associatio n. His auto biography The Story ofmy Life(1982 [1934]) touches briefly on his South African experiences and againcould usefully be includ ed in the archive of southern African literatu re.

    Christia nity in th e Indi an Ocean can equally produce un expectednarrat ives. One of th ese woul d be an account of John Rungiah, a TeleguBaptis t mission ary who comes from south Ind ia to proselytise in Natal in1903 (Rungiah, 1905). Such south-south movements will have interestingimpli cations for understand ings of Chr istian mission , which are almos tuniformly understood as a north-south phenomenon.

    Islam has underwr itt en the most extensive un iversalisms in the IndianOcean. At present the idea of Islam and Islamic writing has virtually neverbeen consis tently factored into South African literary and cultural histo ries.Once such a project is attempted, the bou ndaries and vectors of SouthAfrican literature will be substantially extended. A project such as th is wouldminimally consider th e 'secular ' writers who engage with Islamic or Koranic

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  • ISA BEL HOFM EYR 2 5

    themes (one thinks for example of Shabbir Banoobhai) and what this wouldmean once factored into historiographies of South African literature. Alsoimportant would be representations of Islam , an int eresting example beingPeter Lanham and A.S. Mopeli-Paulus's Blanket Boy 's Moon (1984 [1953]),which deals in part with a positive portrayal of Durban's Islamic communityin the 1940s. The writing of practitioners of th e faith in South Africa wouldconstitut e a vast body of work spread across numerous languages. ShamilIeppie's (2007) recent exemplary study of the Arabic Study Circle in Durbanleads the way here, demonstrating the themes that a detailed study of aparticular textual community can op en up.

    +++In conclusion, let me bring matters up to the present. What differencedoes the Indian Oc ean make today? As indicated earlier, there has been asignificant intensification of trade between South Africa and Indi a. It is clearthat South Africa's future will be sign ificantly shaped by India. This papersuggests that we need urgently to start writing the histories of this emergingpresent.

    Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand,South Africa. In 2004 she published The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History ofThe Pilgrim 'sProgress (Princeton University Press), which examined themes of north-south textual circ ulatio n. She has now turned her attention to questions of south-south circulation and is working on a book entitled Indian Ocean Lives and Letters.She coordinates the South Africa-India Connec tions and Comparisons project at theUniversity of the Witwatersrand . Email: IsabeI.Hofmeyr@wits.ac.za

    NotesThis paper was initially given as a keynot e address at 'Forging the Local and theGlobal; AUETSA/SAAC LALS/SAVAL Conference, University of Stellenbosch, 9-12July 2006.

    2 Title and translat ion as given in catalogue of the Johann esburg Public Library.

    3 Title and translation as listed in Prem Naira n Agrawa l's Bhawani Dayal Sasnnyasi(1939: Appendix I) .

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  • 26 THE BLA CK ATLANTI C MEETS THE INDIAN OC EA N

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