The diaspora at home: Indian views and the making of Zuleikha Mayat's public voice

Thembisa Waetjen, Goolam Vahed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines how the Gujarati-speaking Muslim trading class in South(ern) Africa was linked as a reading public through a newspaper, Indian Views, which had been founded in early twentieth-century Durban in opposition to Mahatma Gandhi's Indian Opinion. Under the editorship of Moosa Meer (1929-63) it was a conduit for sustaining existing social networks as well as offering common narratives that galvanized an idea of community embracing its geographically disparate readership. Between 1956 and 1963, Zuleikha Mayat, a self-described housewife born in Potchefstroom but married to a medical doctor in Durban whom she met through the newspaper, wrote a weekly column that represented one of the first instances of a South African Muslim woman offering her ideas in print. She spoke across gender divides and articulated a moral social vision that accounted for both local and diasporic concerns. This article provides a narrative account of how Mayat came to write for Indian Views, a story that underscores the personal linkages within this diasporic community and, more broadly, how literacy and the family enterprises that constituted local print capitalism provided a material means of sustaining existing networks of village and family. It also reveals the role of newspaper as an interface between public and private spaces in helping to create a community of linguistically related readers who imagined themselves as part of a larger print culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-41
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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