Johannesburg, Aug 13 (PTI) Over 10,000 people of different communities gathered at the popular Zoo Lake resort here to mark India’s Independence Day with Indian-origin artists enthralling the audience by their performances.

The ‘India Day’ was hosted here by the ‘India Club’ two days before the Independence Day.

Visitors were enthralled by the music and dance performances by expatriates and South African-Indian artists.

People also got an opportunity to savour different Indian regional cuisines.

The highlight of the day was the performance by Anavarata Dance Institute, compromising African dancers led by second generation dance instructor Anushia Pillay. It performed dances to music from all regions of India.

Children and young adults with roots in Indian states staged many performances showcasing their unique cultures.

“From humble beginnings 12 years ago, India Day has evolved into a massive undertaking in which NRIs and the local Indian community work together for months,” said Debajit Shome, one of the organisers, said.

In her first public address since taking office, new Indian High Commissioner Ruchira Kamboj expressed her happiness at the massive turnout at the event.

Kamboj, who served a term a decade ago as Consul General in Cape Town, described her new position in Pretoria as “a homecoming”.

“I have come to realise that this country possesses not only a uniquely genuine spirit of welcoming, but also serves as an epitome of reconciliation,” she said.

Kamboj said India’s relations with South Africa were based on “acceleration and expansion”.

“Since, 1994, and the end of apartheid, trade has emboldened, cultural and economic ties have deepened, and people-to-people ties have solidified,” she said.

“The relationship between India and South Africa is truly special – it stands for peace in a times of turmoil; serves as a platform for collaboration in times of chaos; and above all, is an alliance of trust and conviction,” Kamboj said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.