Original Research - Special Collection: Social Memory Studies

The story of Nana Sita and the Group Areas Act

Christina Landman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 2 | a6323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i2.6323 | © 2021 Christina Landman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 August 2020 | Published: 26 May 2021

About the author(s)

Christina Landman, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa


Nana Sita (1898–1969) is best known for being the secretary of the Transvaal Indian Congress and for his leadership in the passive resistance movement for which he was incarcerated three times. This article focusses specifically on three more times he was sentenced to hard labour for refusing to submit to the Group Areas Act and to leave his (business and) house at 382 Van Der Hoff Street in Hercules, Pretoria. The main sources for telling the story of Nana Sita’s resistance are interviews with his 93-year-old daughter, a chapter written on him by E.S. Reddy and other unpublished material placed at the author’s disposal by Maniben Sita herself. The focus of the article will be on the religious arguments against the Group Areas Act put forward by Nana Sita himself in his defense during his final trial in 1967.

Contribution: Historical thought and source interpretation are not limited to historic texts but include social memory in the endeavour of faith seeking understanding. People of faith in South Africa can only come to grips with reality by engaging with the stories of the past, like that of Nana Sita.


Nana Sita; Maniben Sita; Group Areas Act; Indians in South Africa; Transvaal Indian Congress.


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