Many Lives offers readers an understanding of heritage as community endeavour that invites controversy as well as commemoration. The book features a wide selection of rarely seen personal photographs from various archive sources and is a photographic history of the Indian diaspora in South Africa, beginning from 1860 when migrations of indentured labourers arrived in Natal. Over 700 stunning images create a collective portrait of diverse groups of people who, over the generations, came officially to be classified as "Indian" through racialised efforts by the colonial, and later apartheid, state, which partitioned them as a minority population. It tells the stories of how ordinary people resisted and accommodated and went about making their lives in the changing times. Through institutions of family, community organisation, religion and national politics, as well as through recognisable cultural expressions such as food, fashion and creative arts, South African Indians have formed a vibrant local presence that has contributed to the rainbow of national life.