A fusion of linguistic, religious and ethnic groups with rich, diverse roots and intersecting histories make up South Africa. However, the literature on most of the smaller groups tends to be thin and uneven and often tends to relegate them to the margins of the countrys major narratives. This innovative study introduces readers to a fascinating world of linguistic, religious and cultural politics in the South African port city of Durban from around 1950, the world of the Arabic Study Circle.
This Association was led by a group of largely middle class, Indian, Muslim Gujurati-speaking men who were passionate about breaking out of the narrow confines of their origins and connecting to a larger changing world of learning rooted in Arabic and an Islamic modernity.
They were gentlemen who believed in the transformative powers of reading and conversation. They exemplify the broader process, common among educated but disadvantaged people in apartheid South Africa and across the decolonising world, of the search for meaning, community and authenticity.
This work provides an intimate sense of who they were and how they operated, their visions, as well as their international connections and contexts.
2.The setting: Durban, South Africa, circa 1950
3.The founder and foundations
4.Learn, speak, read and study Arabic Talk
6.Critics, dissidents and enemies
7.Legacy and limits