Indian Heritage

The first few Indians in South Africa were imported by the Dutch East India Company in the seventeenth century as slaves. They were mainly from Bengal and South India. Simon van der Stel’s maternal grandmother, Monica da Costa (Monica of the Coast), was from Bengal. Some Indians were also aboard ships that were wrecked off the Cape Coast. A few of them survived and became spouses of the local inhabitants. In 1820 a number of Indians from Bencoolen were brought to the Cape by Mr Hare on the condition that the colony was not to be responsible for these Indians.

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