South Africans part of the Indonesian Diaspora
Raeesa Sallie in blue with her lecturers Ludrio Madu (r) and Reza Prima Yanti (l)
The history of the Indonesian diaspora in South Africa is linked to the liberation of hero Sheik Yusuf who, like other prominent liberation heroes of South Africa fought against oppression. Compelled to surrender against the Dutch East India Company he was banished to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, and then to South Africa. Sheik Yusuf was the brother of the Sultan of Macassar. Macassar is also the name of a town in Cape Town and it is here that the first inhabitants from Indonesia arrived.
Raeesa Sallie, a 22 year old student from Durban, South Africa, is currently on a 3 month arts and culture course at the UPN “Veteran” Yogyakarta. She is a descendant of the Indonesian diaspora in South Africa and is grateful to be able to connect with her ancestral home.
It is the first opportunity she has had to be away from home for a prolonged period of time and it has allowed her to grow and become more independent. “There is so much to learn from the richness and diversity of the traditions and cultures and as a Muslim I feel right at home. I have learned a few phrases in Bahasa Indonesia which is helping me cope.” said Raeesa.
She is currently completing a 4 year education degree at the Embury Institute for Teacher Education.
The 2nd Congress of the Indonesia Diaspora held in Jakarta in August 2013 aimed to connect with people like Raeesa Sallie from South Africa who shares a historical link with Indonesia to foster and empower Indonesian communities worldwide.