From Poverty to Power

India’s exchange with Africa is rooted in the precolonial period with subsequent developments in the colonial and the post-colonial era. In the 18th century the territories were tied through migration and commerce. Indian links with business contacts in East Africa were utilised by traders through imports, exports and shipping. India’s later ideological support unfolded through its challenge to racism. This is exemplified by Gandhi’s ‘Satyagraha’ movement in South Africa (1906-14) to fight for the rights of Indians. However, only the future will tell if Gandhi’s vision of the relationship will prevail and if “the commerce between India and Africa will be of ideas and services, not of manufactured goods against raw materials after the fashion of western exploiters.”

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