The 1860 Museum & The Sam China Cup

Robbie Naidoo, Nithia Naidoo, Dhilosen Pillay, Farook Khan, Dr Ashwin Desai and Vinnie Sivabhadan at the opening night of the 1860 Museum

Robbie Naidoo, Nithia Naidoo, Dhilosen Pillay, Farook Khan, Dr Ashwin Desai and Vinnie Sivabhadan at the opening night of the 1860 Museum

Last Wednesday saw the opening of the 1860 Museum in Chatsworth, KZN. The brainchild of Mr Dilosen Pillay, the museum is the first privately funded museum dedicated to the history of Indian people in South Africa. Six rooms of Hotel Savera in Chatsworth make up the museum, which will be open to the public for viewing. Each of the rooms looks at key periods of Indian history, and includes iconic political figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Ahmed Kathrada and Dr Yusuf Dadoo.

Transvaal team, Sam China Cup Winners, 1961

Transvaal team, Sam China Cup Winners, 1961

The opening of the museum was attended by more than 200 people, including Mr Boysie Moodley, who bought with him the Sam China Cup. The trophy, which was originally donated by Moodley’s grandfather, was awarded to the winning team of the national competition for Indians, which took place in Kimberly from 1903 onwards. Founded in 1902, the South African Indian Football Association (SAIFA) were restricted in terms of the venues they could play. In Durban, Curries Fountain became the premier venue for soccer, with men of all races playing side by side. In fact despite the political climate in South Africa there was increasing racial integration in some of the local soccer teams – a photograph of the winners of the 1961 Sam China Cup shows a team made up of players from a diverse mix of racial and cultural groups. It seems that soccer, and along with it, Curries Fountain, offered some respite to the increasingly harsh racial segregation in South Africa.

Located on the Berea the Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre, now a part of the Liberation Heritage Route, continues to play an important role in the promotion of non-racialism, encouraging continued change and transformation through sports in South Africa.

Images courtesy of Durban Casbah, Culture & Heritage and  overcomingapartheid.msu.edu

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