Sandeep Dikshit

JOHANNESBURG: The Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament besides giving happier moments to lovers of the game is also providing the right boost to India’s sustained cultural interaction with South Africa.

Huge IPL hoardings featuring Sachin Tendulkar jostle for attention with advertisements of consumer brands, and newspapers routinely carry full- page advertisements of the coming matches. One channel routinely carries all IPL matches. The Indian advertisements are causing amusement and one analyst light-heartedly termed them an Indian attempt to culturally colonise South Africa with cricket.

But in this recession-prone time, none seems to mind the extra business that is coming South Africa’s way through stadium rentals, hotel bookings and tourist spends. For, the profile of India has become bigger and better.

And the accent on India also suits the 15-lakh people of Indian origin, who are gearing to celebrate 150 years of their arrival here.

“The Indian community here is a bridge between the two nations. They are of special importance to us while keeping in mind that they are citizens of South Africa,” said a senior diplomat.