Prior to the independence of India, the Princely State of Janjira was located in the Kokan region. The region was predominantly agricultural based and impoverished. As a result, many inhabitants migrated elsewhere to create opportunities and financial security for their families. Today Janjira forms part of the Raighad District in the State of Maharashtra, situated along the west coast of India.
History indicates that through the influence and spread of Islam, the Arab and African nations had established a presence in India, especially along the coastal region.
It is of contextual historical significance to note that the Princely State of Janjira was at one point in time ruled by an Abyssinian leader. Details of the tenure of rule can be found in the Janjira Fort, an area of great historic importance.
People originating from the Janjira region are commonly known as “Habsanis”. The word Habsani derives from the Arabic word “Habshi” meaning Abyssinian.
The Habsani’s migrated to South Africa during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Like many other Indians of Kokan descent, the majority of Habsani’s settled in Cape Town, the scenically beautiful Mother City of South Africa. As a result of the Gold Rush in Johannesburg and the discovery of diamonds in Kimberly, some families moved further afield and settled in those cities. Habsani’s have contributed greatly to the economic development of all the regions they have chosen as their homes.