Date & Time2:00pm, 7 December 2021 - 3:00pm, 7 December 2021
About the event
Blending first-person testimonies from Indian indentured labourers with fiction, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Ameena Gafoor Institute have brought together a team of actors, writers and directors to produce three short monologues that highlight both the vulnerability and resilience of survivors of the colonial system of indenture in Guyana, Mauritius and South Africa in the nineteenth century. This event will feature the recorded monologues and conversations with the creatives, as well as a panel hosting the writers; who have used both archival resources and the research of contemporary historians to bring to life the stories of the indentured.
The system of Indian indenture (1834-1917), implemented by the British Empire, functioned largely to restrict and limit Indians to a life on the colonial sugar plantations, yet the colonial archives reveal key moments of resistance, such as oral testimonies by the indentured, that challenged and disrupted both the system of indenture and the colonial rule that maintained its existence. Through the monologues shown at this event, we remember the spirit of activism that defined and united the overseas Indian communities created by indenture.
Featured dramatic monologues
- Bibee Zuhoorun, written by Poonam Seetohul, performed by Vinesha Bissoondeeal, directed by Ashish Beesoondial
- Bechu, written by Elly Niland, performed by Tanmay Dhanania, directed by Trilby Harrison James
- Passage From India, written by Anirood Singh, performed by Sounak Kundu, directed by Trilby Harrison James
This event has taken place. You can watch it here:
Image credit: ‘Roots and Routes’ silkscreen by Varsha Rambarasah.
Maria del Pilar Kaladeen is an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London. She specialises in the history of the system of indenture in Guyana and is part of the editorial team of the new Journal for the Study of Indentureship. She was also one of the editors of the We Mark Your Memory (University of London Press), the first anthology of writing on the system of indenture across the former British Empire. Maria’s latest book, The Other Windrush (Pluto Press), charts the stories of descendants of Caribbean indenture who were also part of the Windrush Generation.
Poonamraag Seetohul is an educator, theatre practitioner and writer from Mauritius. Her writing projects range from translation, academic writing, and theatre and creative writing in English, French and Mauritian Creole. She currently teaches English and theatre at Lycée La Bourdonnais, where she is the cultural advisor. She also conducts workshops in Drama and theatre making in different schools on the island. Poonamraag remains actively engaged with artists and art organisations and positions herself as a theatre director, having staged a number of productions.
Anirood is an Advocate (Barrister) of the High Court of South Africa, a Counsellor-at-Law, a published author, as well as an editor and peer reviewer. He has worked asa civil engineering technician, urban development practitioner, and development funder. Anirood is also an in-house screenwriter and screenplay editor for a Johannesburg-based movie production company and has worked on several screenplays and TV drama series. He is a fourth-generation South African of Indian descent. His great-grandfather landed at Port Natal in 1863 as an indentured labourer.
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