Gujarati in South Africa

Gujarati
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Gujarati
Country: South Africa
10/40 Window: No
Population: 32,000
World Population: 3,367,100
Primary Language: Gujarati
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.40 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Gujarati are primarily classified as the inhabitants of the state of Gujarat, western India. Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states in India. For most of them, Gujarati is their native language. They are a complex people group, speaking various dialects and having many cultural distinctions. Some of these differences are based on region, while others are based on their "caste" (social class) or community.
Gujarat's lengthy coastline and numerous harbors have made it a focal point of travel and trade throughout the world. The Gujarati are known as being resourceful businessmen. This has helped them to successfully emigrate and thrive anywhere they go. The Gujarati who have emigrated are usually from the higher, wealthier castes and have maintained many aspects of their own culture. The Gujarati have a long history of moving to other parts of the world for business purposes. Though other South Asian groups came to South Africa in the early 1960s as indentured servants, the Gujaratis arrived a little later as "passenger Indians" who came as traders, who paid for their own passage, and had more freedom than the others. However, apartheid put them in the same lower category as other Asian people. In the 1890s, Mahatma Gandhi, a Gujarati, came to South Africa, and tangled with this unjust system. For example, Asians were required to carry passes and restricted as to where they could go. As traders, the Gujaratis established trade, mainly in the city of Durban but also in other parts of Natal Province.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Gujaratis in Africa are noted for their business-savvy ways, and the Republic of South Africa is no exception. Many are involved with lucrative import/export trade, motels, local shops, while a smaller number are in the medical or IT professions.
Gujaratis have strong extended families as well as worldwide business networks. These two factors have helped them to thrive throughout Africa and beyond. Even if one's business fails, the family helps the Gujarati individual to take the next painful step towards getting back on their feet. To a Gujarati, having one's own business, even a small one, is viewed more favorably than working for someone else. Enterprise is a cultural value. Businesses are conducted with others they trust, which can reinforce working with other Gujaratis across the globe.
The Gujaratis in South Africa tend to live in Durban with the other South Asian peoples. It's usually the elderly who still speak Gujarati, but because apartheid keep these "Asian/colored" people away from the British schools, they developed a different dialect of English than the one spoken by Whites in South Africa. Like other South Asian groups, the Gujaratis enjoy Indian-spiced foods, which have caught on throughout the country. They like Bollywood movies and music along with other aspects of South Asian culture. Yet, they are a hybrid culture, but not the same as other South Africans.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Gujarati in diaspora serve the great god of mammon but hold to traditional Gujarati Hindu beliefs and practices as well. Those beliefs and practices will differ widely according to details of caste and family background, and some will be deeply concerned and committed related to their traditional ways. Traditional gods and modern gurus compete for attention, with the 19th century-origin Swaminarayan movement continuing to grow and draw Gujarati involvement.
There is a sizable Muslim community among the Gujaratis. Their ancestors were among the ones who brought Islam to South Africa.

What Are Their Needs?

In most countries where there are Gujarati communities, there are no missionary agencies focusing taking Christ to them. The Bible is available in their language, but the Gujarati must see Christianity lived out. There will be obstacles to those who want to take Christ to these highly unreached Hindus. As it stands, there are very few who will dare to take that step.

Prayer Points

Pray for an intense spiritual hunger among Gujaratis that will draw them into the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Gujarati in South Africa.
Pray for a Disciple Making Movement to Christ among Gujaratis throughout Africa that will result in them experiencing the intense blessings of Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project