Shapurji Jivanji Randeria was born at Rander in the Surat district in India in 1880. He arrived in South Africa in 1900. He had passed the senior book-keeping examinations of the London Chamber of Commerce in Bombay prior to his arrival. After arriving in Durban he founded a customs clearing and shipping business. He had a passport issued to him by the British Consul in Zanzibar entitling him to proceed to any British Colony with all rights of British citizenship.

He crossed the Natal-Transvaal border in August 1908, along with Parsee Rustomjee and others, to claim his right as an educated person to enter the Transvaal. He was arrested on 27 August and the next day the Court ordered his deportation to Natal. He re-entered the Transvaal and was arrested again. He told the Court that, as a Parsee, he had been granted a permit such as was issued to Europeans under the Peace Preservation Ordinance. He could not submit to a degrading Act like the Asiatic Act. South Africa was the land of his adoption and he claimed the right to reside anywhere therein.

He served three terms in prison, totalling twelve months, with hard labour. He was sentenced to three months with hard labour in September 1908 and to a similar term after release. Released on 4 March 1909, he was re-arrested the next day and sentenced to six months with hard labour. He was arrested again on the day of release and deported to Charlestown. He had to proceed to Durban from there because of his brother’s serious illness.

He was a respected community leader in Natal in later years. Ismail Meer wrote in his memoirs:

“I remember Shapurji Randeria as that imposing quiet man, who was the Gujarati examiner at the Pine Street Madressa and as the person of so many sterling qualities.”

Shapurji Jivanji Randeria passed away in September 1945.


• E.S.Reddy. (2012). From an email to SAHO, from Mr E S Reddy, dated 30 June 2012

Collections in the Archives