From the book: A Documentary History of Indian South Africans edited by Surendra Bhana and Bridglal Pachai

Amirtham charged her husband, Seeniwasa Padayachi with bigamy. The deposition, dated 4 September 1895, has interesting details about the social conditions surrounding this family tune.Source: Magistrates Records, Durban Correspondence 102, 1895, Natal Archives.

I am the wife of Seeniwasa Padayachi residing on the Eastern Vlei. I was married to my husband at 'Bourbon' about 17 years ago. I lived with him for about 10 1/2 years in Bourbon. I had five children by him, four boys and one girl (Sawapathy, Sondram, Vythalingam, Parvathy and Gurusarny). Out of these a boy named Vythalingam and the girl Parvathy died.

About seven years ago my husband left me at 'Bourbon' taking with him two boys (Sawapathy and Sondram) and deserted me. For several days I made enquiries as to the whereabouts of my husband and children. I was told that they have gone to India (Pondichery).

About nine months after my husband deserted me, I went to India and searched for them at Pondichery and other places but could not find them. Then I started for Mauritius, stayed there 15 days and searched for them, but could not find them. I then went to 'Bourbon' and stayed there for a year, went back to India, stayed there for 7 months, returned again and remained there 3 years, when I received a letter from my eldest Sawapathy giving me the full particulars of my husband and himself.

At once I started for Madras and then made enquiries at Indian Emigration Office there. They informed me that my husband emigrated for Natal with a woman named Valliammal (36871) as his wife. They gave me a letter to the Immigration Office here. I then started for Natal with my youngest son Gurusamy and arrived here per S.S. Congella in December 1894. On arrival here I handed over the letter to Mr. Dunnings of the Protector's Office who referred me to Mr. Pittren. I found my son Sondram there. He told me that my husband was in Swaziland.

Since my arrival here I was informed at the Protector's B woman Valliammal (36871) is registered here as my husband Pittren telegraphed to my husband. He sent me £2 first and subsequent to that he sent me £10.

About 3 or 4 months after this my husband came down. He sometimes lived with me and sometimes lived with the woman Valliammal who lives separate from me. He was doing nothing for sometime. I got him work at the laundry Point Road. He does not come to my house. He does not support me in any way.

I went to the place where he worked and asked him why he does not come to my house. He replied by saying, 'I do not wish to come to your house.’

I now wish to charge my husband with bigamy because I being a lawful wife, he married again the woman Valliammal (36871). I have not been unfaithful to my husband. I did not leave him and cohabit with another man. It is not for this reason he left me and came away to Natal. I do not know why he left me. He was doing well in 'Bourbon'. I do not know where he picked up with the woman Valliammal.