n Historia - Historical parallels and convergences between India and South Africa
South Africa and India: Shaping the Global South, Isabel Hofmeyr and Michelle Williams (Eds.) : book review

Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The context of the volume of collected essays, , is the increasing historiographical focus on the Indian Ocean and the migration of ideas and people across national boundaries. This falls within a growing recognition of the importance of the "Global South" in terms of its economic and political power. Two countries falling within this ambit are South Africa and India. Both countries share much in common historically - the movement of Indian indentured labour, the political activism of Gandhi and struggles for independence. In the present, too, they face common challenges, the most significant of which is the "deepening" of democracy. India - the largest democracy in the world - and South Africa - whose largely peaceful transition to democracy in 1994 has been much lauded - are still countries where economic power is held in the hands of the elites and most citizens are unable to participate effectively in the political power of the state that extends beyond the exercise of the franchise. The volume then is divided into two sections - one addressing the "Historical Connections" between South Africa and India and the other the "Socio-Political Comparisons".

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