This deposition, taken from Goolam Khader, a free Indian, on 16 August 1878 is long and complicated. But it contains a wealth of information about free Indians, sirdars, masters, estate managers, and indentured Indians. Source: LL/1/4, 1387/1878, Natal Archives.
Goolam Khader states that on or about 9 months ago the young master ... came to the estate and I made his food for him and about 1 month afterwards Mr. Ramart came to the estate as manager and he also lived in the same manner. I cooked their food and took it to the bungalow and gave it them. They gave me during this time about 25 lb rice. In this way the young master lived for about 3 months for which he gave 12 shillings. And Mr. Ramart lived for 2 months in this way. But he gave me nothing. During these 2 1/2 months Mr. Ramart often came to my house and used very bad language and when I was on the work he also used very bad language. I was so disgusted I did not answer him. On one occasion I complained to the young master that Mr. Ramart used such bad language to me. I did not like it. He did not say anything in reply.
On another day I went to Mr. Ramart and asked him to give me a pass to go to Umzinto. He asked me when I would return. I said tomorrow. I got the pass and went to Umzinto and returned about 2 o'clock the same day. I went to my house and drank water and my wife and my second wife told me that after you left the young master came to us and asked where the sirdar had gone. We said he came and got a pass from you [,] thus why do you ask us where he is gone. He said O yes he's gone to Umzinto. When will he be back. We said we do not know when he will be back. He said not tonight but tomorrow and then said tonight have your door open. My first wife said what for. Then he said Mr. Ramart and I want to come tonight. We will each give 5 shillings. Then my second wife said 5 shillings is no good bring each one pound. Then he said very good when the sirdar returns I will tell him this.
After hearing this I was very angry and I heard Mr. Ramart calling me. I went and the young master ordered me to supply cane to the rollers. As I was doing so the young master kept on saying sirdar I see by your face you are very cross. Why have you been drinking. I said have you given me drink. I then said you be master I be Coolie but do not use bad language. You have been to my house and used bad language. That is not right and I told him to arrange to cook his food at his own house as I would not do it any longer and from that date Mr. Ramart has always annoyed me until I left.
He first went to the Coolies and said get the sirdar to give you back the money he has taken from you as I am going to discharge that sirdar. The Coolies said never mind if he pays us or not. Four of the said Coolies came to me and told me this. Then on one Saturday I spoke to Mr. Ramart and said sir, you are my father. Why do you try to let the Coolies to quarrel with me. That is not good. He replied very well I would speak to you tonight. Master did not call me that night so I did not go. Master called me on the following day, Sunday. And then he said go away I do not want you to work for me. I replied very good sir. Please give me pay 2 months and 7 days. Yes you owe £4. I take that it makes the account correct. Then Mr. Ramart asked me if I wanted a certificate of character. Yes if you please. Mr. Ramart then wrote a very bad one.
I took it and one week afterwards I showed it to the young master and our Central Manager [?] and the young master said this is very bad and tore it up. Mr. Ramart told me on the Sunday that he settled with me and told me [I] must leave the estate in 3 days from that time and that I could take my first wife away but my second wife I must leave, as she was an indentured Coolie. Then I made a salaam.... Then he asked me where I was going. I am going to my cane field to build a house. What road will you come he said. I said by this. He said you must not. If I may or may not know. Then I left and went to my house and called Badul Khan and told him to take my two wives to his house as from what Mr. Ramart says it will be best.
Then I came to Umzinto and the next day I went back and saw all my things and my two wives in Badul Khan's house. Then Badul Khan said Mr. Ramart says take your daughter but send Goolam Khader's wife away as he is not to come on this estate again. Badul Khan replied this is my daughter[;] as well, as that I shall keep them there. Mr. Ramart said very well, you would see what trouble I will give you. For one month and upward Mr. Ramart kept coming to Badul Khan's house and asking if Goolam Sirdar had been. When Badul Khan said yes, Mr. Ramart always said that he would give trouble. Then about 2 months after I left the situation I went to Umzimkulu and returned in 10 days with some goats and when I was on the road with them taking them to my fields, Mr. Ramart sent a Kaffir and ordered him to drive my goats and Kaffir off the estate. I then took them to Umkomaas and on the following Monday I paid Badul Khan £7. 2s. 0d. and left the goats at Badul Khan’s house and I killed a goat and sold the flesh to the Coolies for 10 shillings which amount Badul Khan received and a few days afterwards Badul Khan and his wife did everything to annoy me and Badul Khan said don't you speak to my daughter. I said I have married her and I shall talk to her.
I then went to Mr. Ramart and told him about Badul Khan's conduct. He said never mind work a few days and I will make you sirdar again. I worked for 3 days[;] on the fourth day Mr. Ramart sent Badul Khan to call me and brought his family to Mr. Ramart. Mr. Ramart was at his meal[;] we waited. Mr. Ramart came and Badul Khan went into the bungalow. Mr. Ramart called me and asked what do you want. I said Badul Khan called me so I came. Then he asked Badul Khan what is this. Badul Khan said Goolam Khader gives grog to us all and is trying to win us and I have no wish to let him have my daughter for his wife. Then Mr. Ramart said be quiet. Then Mr. Ramart asked the girl is it your wish or not to be Goolam Khader's wife. She did not answer but Badul Khan's wife said she has no wish. Then Mr. Ramart said keep quiet. I did not ask you. Let the girl answer. He then asked the girl twice and she did not answer. On the third time the wife of Badul Khan said daughter say you have no wish. Then she said, yes sir, I have no wish. Then Mr. Ramart said to me you have your answer. Your work is finished. Go away. I replied very good sir, and left.
I went to the Coolie houses. When Badul Khan and his family came I was in the house. Badul Khan he said why is you here. I said I am taking my clothes. He said don't you come here. Go outside I will give them you. He gave me 3 blankets, 1 coat, 1 red turban. I took these and put away.
On the next day I went to Badul Khan's house. I called my second wife, She would not answer me but Badul Khan's wife said goes away. Then she took my second wife and went to Mr. Ramart. Then Mr. Ramart called me. I went. He said for what reason did you go to Badul Khan's house. I said I want my things from there so I went for them. Mr. Ramart then said you have no business to go there, and called Badul Khan to beat and kill me if I came again.
Mr. Ramart then left and Badul Khan left. I went to the Coolie lines and Badul Khan brought out of his house 2 boxes containing a lot of my old things I went to the boxes and when I found what they contained I was so angry that I burnt them and gave the 2 boxes to 2 of the Coolies. I then addressed Badul Khan and said now this is settled. You keep your daughter but give me my jewellery. He said I will not but you will have to give me £10. What for I said. He said as compensation for the disgrace you have made on me. Very good, if you call 10 people to arbitrate and they say you are entitled to it, l will give you. He said what do you want 10 men for. You know and I know. Then I said I would not give you £10. Then he said very well, I will fix you up and take it from you. I replied very well. Do so. Then he went to his house and the next day I left and came to Umzinto.
As I was leaving Badul Khan's wife called to me and said you dog I have fed [you] for a month and you have not paid me. I replied how much do you want for feeding a dog for a month. She said 10 shillings. I put my hand into my pocket and threw her 4 half crowns and proceeded. I then after arrival at Umzinto went to work for Mr. Stewart for 3 days and I was at home sick for 2 days and on the third I was taken to prison and was there for 3 months. After coining out I learn from several Coolies that Mr. Ramart wanted Badul Khan to give his daughter the girl I married to him. Badul Khan gave this out to all the Coolies and Coolie named Isebode saw Mr. Ramart and the girl come out of the ration shed at 10 o'clock at night. Mr. Ramart went one way and the girl the other. Isebode asked the girl if that was the reason she [had] good Goolam Khader put into prison. She would not answer but 3 or 4 days afterwards Mr. Ramart and Badul Khan beat Isebode for having spoken to the girl on this occasion and Isebode to protect himself took hold of Badul Khan's beard and Badul Khan got a summons against him for it and was fined 5 shillings by the resident magistrate.
I beg further to state that I paid upwards of £70 for jewellery, clothes, etc. for this marriage. Before I did this neither Badul Khan or any of his family had any clothes. Any of the Coolies on the estate will know. And I am certain because Mr. Ramart wanted to get my second wife to become his concubine is the reason of all this trouble to me and I can prove by witnesses that she is now his concubine.