Life timeline

This timeline also includes important contextual information please refer to the contents on the right to view different decades.

1800s
1850
The Natal Legislative Council passes Law 14 of 1859 allowing the Government to import labour from India.
1860
16 November, The first batch of indentured labourers arrives in Natal from India to work in the colony in the sugar plantations and as domestic workers.
1867
Diamonds are discovered in the Northern Cape.
1870s
The first Free or Passenger Indians, (people who pay their own fare to the colonies) arrive in Natal as traders and work seekers. The majority of the Passenger Indians are young Muslim Memons, Vhora’s from Gujarat and a sprinkling of Gujarati Hindus.
The first group of Indians to move into the interior are ex-indentured workers followed by Muslim traders.  The earliest known trader moves to Pretoria, the capital of the fledgling Boer Republic, in the late 1870’s.
1886
The discovery of diamonds in the Northern Cape in 1867 and gold in the Witwatersrand marks the radical transformation of Southern Africa and in particular the Witwatersrand.
The region’s population dramatically increases and towns such as Johannesburg grow with the mass influx of European and Asian immigrants and work seekers from Southern Africa.
1880’s
The Boer Republics pass a number of laws which restrict the rights of Indian, Coloureds, Chinese and Africans – the principle is entrenched that the Republics are the preserve of white settler populations. The rights are not extended to Uitlanders (foreigners).
1881
Mohamed Momoojee Dadoo is born in the small town of Kholvad, on the south banks of the Tapi River, a few miles outside the ancient Gujarat city of Surat, India
1893
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a young, London-trained, Indian barrister- at-law, arrives in Durban.
1894
June 28, The Natal legislature plans to introduce the Indian Franchise Bill aimed at disenfranchising Indians.  Nearly 500 Indians sign a petition addressed to the Natal Legislative Assembly against the Bill
August 22 , The Natal merchant class launches the Natal Indian Congress.  Abdoola Hajee Adam Jhaveri is elected its first President and MK Gandhi, the Natal Indian Congress’s first Secretary.
1896
At the age of 16, Mahomed Momoojee Dadoo arrives in South Africa.  A relative, AE Chotabhai, offers the young man employment in a store in the small mining town of Klerksdorp, on the West Rand. The young man is part of a growing number of young men and a few families that have settled in the Transvaal Republic - the majority of whom settle in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
1898
August 8, Indians lose a test case in the Transvaal High Court, which rules that  the “Gold Act”, prohibits Asiatics  from trading in mining areas and restricts both their residential and trading rights to locations set aside for Asiatics.
1899
October 11, The outbreak of the South African War, the Anglo-Boer War, forces the majority of Indian, Chinese and other “British subjects” to flee the Transvaal. Mahomed Momoojee Dadoo returns to India, to await the outcome of the War raging in South Africa.  In India, he marries Fatima Wadee, the daughter of a relative from Kholvad.
Next: 1900s
Content: Timeline

1800s

1900s 1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

Please note that this timeline is still under construction, 1990s - 2000s will be uploaded in the coming weeks.