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Fourth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas to be held in South Africa

By Abdul Nisar

New Delhi, Sep 17 (ANI): The fourth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be held at South Africa's Durban city on October 1 and 2 respectively with the theme 'India and Africa: Building Bridges'.

The event is being organized in partnership with the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Government of South Africa.

Around 600 to 800 delegates from all over Africa are expected to participate in the conference.

A large Indian diaspora lives in Africa. This conference aims to bring all of them together.

The Premier of Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) province, the Mayor of Durban Municipality, PIO community leaders, prominent businessmen, dignitaries and other distinguished persons from entire African Continent will participate in the convention.

The event coincides with Mahatma Gandhi's birthday and will also be a part of the year-long celebrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian immigrants in South Africa from India.

Durban has historic significance because Mahatma Gandhi lived in Durban from 1893 to 1914 and first experimented with non-violence and passive resistance based on truth as potent and novel tool of struggle against apartheid and imperialism in South Africa.

The South African Indian origin community currently numbers around 1.28 million and constitutes about 2.5 percent of its total population.

About 80 percent of the people of Indian origin live in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KZN is noted for its link with Mahatma Gandhi.

During his 21-year stay in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi fought against the racist regime and founded the Natal Indian Congress.

The International Convention Centre in Durban is the venue of the Conference. The pre-convention events on October 1 are 'Business Round Table Conference' and an academic seminar on 'Diaspora: eritage in the Context of Globalisation'.

There would be five plenary sessions on October 2 beginning with the opening plenary. 'The Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the 21st Century' followed by sessions on 'Business: Opportunity in Africa, 'Education, Youth and Gender: Leveraging Knowledge and Technology for Social Development,' 'Diaspora: Heritage in the Context of Globalisation'.

Cultural troupe organized by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will perform on the first day at the inaugural function.

The Government of KZN would sponsor the programme of local cultural troupes for the second day.

The first ever regional- Pravasi Bhartiya Divas outside India was organized at New York in September 2007 and the second one was held at Singapore in October 2008 and the third one was held in September 2009 in The Hague. (ANI)

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