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Historia

On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X

Abstract

HUGHES, Heather. Keynote address delivered at the Biennial Conference (History Wars, Wars in History & other Southern African Histories) of the Historical Association of South Africa conference, Durban, 26-28 June 2014 , University of KwaZulu-Natal, 26-28 June 2014. African encounters with the sea: Durban and beyond. Historia [online]. 2014, vol.59, n.2, pp.355-368. ISSN 2309-8392.

This article presents an overview of the relationship between what is now the KwaZulu-Natal coast and the Indian Ocean, from the perspective of what has been called an "amphibious" history of land-sea relationships. It discusses two broad approaches to the study of the Indian Ocean, one concerned more with politics, economy and technology, and another that focuses more on subjectivities and cultural exchange, to show how south-eastern Africa's place in the Indian Ocean imaginary varies according to which of these perspectives is adopted. It then examines the historical evidence concerning the relationship to the ocean of those who have lived and worked along this coast, focusing largely on the port of Durban. Finally it examines the linkages between the littoral and those who have gone to sea, whether as seafarers or different kinds of passengers. The conclusion is that there is still much to be uncovered about this stretch of coast in the Indian Ocean, if we ask the appropriate sorts of questions.

Keywords : Indian Ocean world; Durban harbour; Durban seaside; settlement of Natal; slavery.

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