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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Race, empire, and citizenship: Sarojini Naidu's 1924 visit to South Africa
Author:Vahed, GoolamISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic term:South Africa
race relations
women politicians
About persons:Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)ISNI
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582473.2012.671353
Abstract:Sarojini Naidu was an Indian independence activist and poet. In 1925 she was elected as the first female President of the Indian National Congress. This paper focuses on her 1924 visit to South Africa. Naidu was the first high profile Indian to visit South Africa after the departure of Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi in 1914. Her visit highlighted that Indian political figures' visits to colonies often perpetuated a reliance on India for political redress. Naidu stood out because, even though she came as Gandhi's emissary, she went well beyond him in calling for a broad-based black alliance against white minority rule. She also emphasized that Indians in South Africa were national citizens and owed their allegiance to their adopted home. By emphasizing the 'South Africanness' of Indians, she put paid to Gandhi's idea of imperial citizenship transcending the nation-State. Moreover, she was highly critical of Empire. The question is whether Naidu's visit should be understood within a particular historical trajectory or as the individual action of an exceptional woman, feminist, and leader. This paper argues that she reflected changes in attitudes towards race in the colonies as well as feelings in India, including Gandhi's, of disillusionment with Empire. Rather than seeing Naidu's position as that of an outstanding individual, it should be contextualized within a specific historical conjuncture. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]