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Rubendra Govender PDF Print E-mail

Rubendra Govender (1966-) was born in Durban. He hails from a pioneer Indian sugar cane farming family and he lived in Inanda until the age of 19 when his family fled the area due to the riots in 1985. He attended the Wyld Memorial Primary School where he served as head boy in 1979. He matriculated from Avoca Secondary School in 1983. In 1988 he graduated from the then University of Durban-Westville with a Bachelor of Paedogogics in Science. He completed his Bachelor of Education Honours degree in 1993 through UNISA.

He has taught Biology and Life Sciences for 22 years and was as an Outcomes Based Education curriculum facilitator from 2001 to 2003. After a short break from teaching in 2007 he returned to education and is currently a teacher at Avoca Secondary School. He was a featured author at the Words on Water literature festival hosted by the Indian government in 2009. He is a published poet, a social commentator, a guest newspaper columnist with the Post Newspaper and a renowned public speaker. Govender describes himself as ‘a son of the soil of Inanda.’  

His first novel Sugar Cane Boy was published in 2008. It is a first hand authentic account of his experiences of the unique sugar cane farming lifestyle within the backdrop of the prejudices of his own community and Apartheid. The story is set in the early 1970’s through to the late 1990’s, drawing from life experiences as part of a pioneering sugar cane farming family.  The novel revolves around the friendship between Soya Sivaraman and Boniwe Mkhize, who from a rustic childhood grow together into upstanding important men.  The book has since been selected as an English set-work for grades 8, 9 and 10 at several leading secondary schools in Durban.

Extract from Sugar Cane Boy

Many of these families (living in Inanda) were second and third generation descendants of the indentured labourers who were shipped into the then Natal Colony from 1860 onwards to work on the sugar estates.  After serving their periods of indenture, some of the more enterprising families bought their own small-holdings.  A few others purchased and successfully ran larger farming and business enterprises.


2008. Sugar Cane Boy.  Durban: Bambata Publishing.

2012. The English Major's Daughter. Durban: Bambata Publishing.