Jacob Moses Kodamala is among the lucky few in the group of 40 South Africans of Indian origin who are visiting south India in an attempt to find out more about their forefathers who left India's shores 150 years ago.

A letter his father received from Nellore in 1977 led Mr. Jacob to visit Andhra Pradesh in 2002 and find the sender of the letter. This time, the visit was even more significant for Mr. Jacob as more Kodamala families were traced. “In my next visit to India I am bringing some of my relatives and cousins,” he said. A series of meetings is planned over the next few days including a thanksgiving celebration and the unveiling of a memorial plaque at V.G.P. Golden Beach Resort on Saturday.

A majority of them don't speak their mother tongue but the desire to trace their lost roots was evident. Dhanalakshmi Govender and Narainsamy Rungasamy Govender know very little about their ancestors other than the fact that they hailed from Andhra Pradesh.

“Our parents themselves don't know…but we are going back to the library to search for the information,” they said.

Apart from networking, signing MoUs and meeting spiritual leaders, the group said the visit has sowed the seeds of more interactions between the two nations.


Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012

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