In 1860, a ship carrying indentured Indians arrived in South Africa, which was to become one of the biggest countries hosting the Indian diaspora. It was the beginning of a painful period of slavery for Indians while in later years, many chose to migrate to South African for a better life.
Today, South Africa is home to the largest population of people of Indian roots on the continent with the city of Durban hosting the highest concentration of people from Indian descent.
A great many Indians still hold onto their cultural heritage. These were passed through each generation and is preserved in language, cuisine and religious practices.
In particular, the language known as Konkani in India or Kokhni has been in existence for over 125 years in South Africa, with a high concentration of speakers in Cape Town.
Radio 786’s Cruise Control programme hosted the Salt River Heritage Society’s Shaboodien Roomaney to unpack the traditions of Kokhni’s.
Roomaney said it is not an easy language to maintain if not spoken regularly.