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How keralites landed in Umtata

How keralites landed in Umtata

How keralites landed in Umtata
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During the apartheid time there were home lands  like Transkei,Ciskei,venda,Boputhuswana within South Africa, just like how Lesotho is now. The then SA govt. rounded up all the indigenous people  and pushed them into a certain area and put borders around it and had border check posts and SA Embassy in each town . For some to go to Durban or eastlondon one has to apply for visa at the SA Embasy in Umtata and cross the border at Umzimkulu  to Durban of Kei bridge for eastlondon. The funny part was  you have to be back before 6 pm or the border close then you have to wait there till morning .The best part was there was no apartheid within the home land. This also gave a boost for ANC to grow bigger and stronger. Most of the ANC leaders are from Transkei
Each of these homeland had Tribal Chief as ruler. The then Umtata now called as Mthatha  was the capital of Transkei home land and was ruled by Chief K D Matanzima. He was a learned man. The SA Govt. Was paying the homeland money on a monthly basis for their needs. These home lands were separate countries within south Africa with separate postal stamps, separate police uniforms , and the govt Dept.s were run independent from SA.But in 1988 he was overthrown in a military  takeover by  General Bantu Holomisa and he ruled Transkei  till Independence.

There were Malayalies and Indians already working in Zambia,Kenya and Nigeria  since 1970. When the copper lost it’s value the charm of working in Zambia was over and people there heard of these home lands and first malayali took a chance and in 1985 ,came down to umtata in Transkei in search of  job. How to get to these home lands without any visa was a problem , so these malayali teachers were clever enough to think that Lesotho being a common wealth country does not require a visa. So they took a flight to Lesotho and then crossed the border to the home land  Ciskei near Lesotho and came to Transkei. Later when it was my turn in 1989 people found out that Transkei airport in Umtata is an International Airport so i could take direct ticket from India to Transkei via Joburg and no customs or immigration clearance in Joburg. And the worst of it was they don’t put any entry stamp on passport  at Umtata airport. So the first lot were caught in Bombay on the way back since they didn’t have any lading stamp in any country. Buy we found a way around it.

Any way these people who came first went to the Dept of education and showed their certificates and experiences in other African countries ,and since the home land were previously on Bantu education , they wanted to improve the education in the home land schools  decided to take foreign teachers. And then thus the migration of teachers and doctors  started into the home lands.

How keralites landed in Umtata
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