An interview with Mr John Pungan on V.K. Govender’s farm, Inanda Tea Estate.
John is a direct descendant of the immigrants that came India. On the 19th February 1907, a ship called Umhloti 1had arrived from India to the shores of Durban in which his parents arrived. The old Point area (now known as Addington) is were the ship had docked its anchor. His parents were sent to Inanda for work. In 1913 a strike had broke out due to the ill-treatment and others issues including the necessity of permits to be on them at all times when they travelled anywhere. His father was arrested during the protest on suspicion of inciting the other employees and was transferred to Pietermaritzberg. Days went by and eventually his father returned to “upper Inanda” where they were allowed to buy leased land. They had used the land to grow crops. The boys duty was to work in the farm and the girls were in the kitchen. Girls had to do all the cooking and cleaning although there was no taps with a constant supply of water or electricity to cook (they used firewood).
In 1950, John had completed his secondary schooling and continued to become an educator. He then became the first teacher in his family. Girls could not attend Secondary or Tertiary schooling although they had the intellect as schools were a distance away and parents felt that it was unsafe for them to attend.
John, had contributed to the Moonsamys School with numerous other people who aided in levelling the grounds in which the school was built by farmers in the area, raising funds for building a tennis court as pupils were already actively involved with other sport such as soccer and cricket. The state had contributed 50% toward the school as well as the local farmers who willingly aided financially and physically at any given time.
After retirement, he got involved with community work and formed a Retired Teachers Society (involve socially), assisted in the Child and Family Welfare Society, Day and Frail care centre (spent 6 years as a Chairperson), established a sports society and bowls club (held the chairperson position for 11 years – teachers & non teachers of all races participate in bowls which had previously been a white-only sport) and the Historical Society which in turn formed and contributed greatly to the Documentation Centre at the Verulam municipal library.
Interviewed by Arisha Govender 13 June 2013
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