Johannesburg: South African Indians have progressed greatly in the past decade with their family incomes doubling, according to the latest census of the South African government.
The census also showed that the majority of South Africa`s Indian-origin population of 1.3 million lives in KwaZulu-Natal province, where their forebears first landed in 1860 as indentured labourers for the sugarcane plantations of British settlers.
With joint family incomes almost doubling to Rand 250,000 a year, more Indian families now own their own homes, have more children attending expensive private schools; and the community has an unemployment rate of only 9.7 per cent.
Amongst the Indian population only 2.9 per cent indicated that they had never received any formal schooling, vindication for a community that prided itself in the apartheid era by building their own schools, a practice they continue today with the establishment of Muslim and Hindu-ethos schools across the country.
Almost 60 per cent of South African Indians live in KwaZulu-Natal, with the economic hub of the country, Gauteng province, being home to 27 per cent of them.
The country`s largest province, Northern Cape, has the fewest Indian inhabitants at only 7,827.
The census showed that there had been substantial migration between provinces as people went in search of job opportunities, with many Indians indicating their proficiency in at least five of the ten indigenous languages spoken in South Africa.
English remains the main language spoken by South Africans, with Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Urdu and Telugu featuring low down on the list of spoken languages.