Mohandas Gandhi arrived in South Africa in 1893, as a lawyer and during his stay he played a significant role in the shaping of South Africa’s political history. Gandhi’s most important accomplishment was that he fought most of his life defending his country and his people’s rights. In 1894 he organized the Natal (South Africa) Indian Congress.
South African Tourism recently launched Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions that identifies 13 places that were seminal in Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey in South Africa.
Identifying these places and including them on the Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions enables the global travel trade to package yet another fascinating aspect of South African history and culture. It makes the Gandhi sites accessible to people from all over the world who want to come and walk in his footsteps, and experience Gandhi’s South Africa.
Central to his immense contribution to human rights was his Satyagraha movement of passive resistance whose enduring impact continues to shape the world today and whose principles he developed whilst living in South Africa.
The Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions was launched on 16 October 2014 and was attended by both media and dignitaries such as Indian Acting High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr T Armstrong Changsan; Acting Director: Arts, Culture and Heritage, City of Johannesburg and author of Gandhi’s Johannesburg: Birthplace of Satyagraha, Mr Eric Itzkin; and South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima.
Some pictures from Satyagraha House in Johannesburg:
South African Tourism’s Gandhi webpage is now live on http://gandhi.southafrica.net .
It provides a comprehensive list of Gandhi-related sites across the country, information on them, and best ways for the global travel trade to package these itinerary highlights for tourists who seek to explore South Africa’s rich cultural heritage and history. It also tells the life story of this remarkable statesman, family man, politician and human being.
Gandhi’s granddaughter, Ms Ela Gandhi says: “South Africa transformed Gandhi’s life. It can transform your life too. Many tours of South Africa show the beauty of this country. But by walking in the footsteps of Gandhi, you do not only experience the beauty of this land, you experience and understand the real meaning of love. I would say this is the most important tour in anybody’s life. People come to the Gandhi sites for inspiration, and to hear the stories about peace, love and unity that remain as deeply relevant all over the world today as they were when he walked on earth.”
“We encourage the global travel trade and tour operators to visit the website and include Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions in their itinerary planning. This will greatly enhance tourists’ enjoyment of present-day South Africa through an understanding of this land’s fascinating history.” , says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima
The following places in South Africa feature on the Gandhi Inspired Tourist Attractions
Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street, Durban: Where Gandhi first stayed when he arrived in South Africa
Old Court House Museum in Durban: Often visited by Gandhi when he was a practicing lawyer. It contains a historic archive of Gandhi images
Pietermaritzburg Station Pietermaritzburg: Commemorates the spot where Gandhi was told to get off a train he was travelling on because he was seated in a compartment reserved for white people only
Gandhi Statue Pietermaritzburg :Unveiled by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993
Durban CBD Durban: Special Gandhi tours are arranged by that city’s tourism department
Spioenkop close to the town of Ladysmith :Where Gandhi was a stretcher-bearer during the South African War of 1899 to 1900. The nearby town of Ladysmith honours him in a statue at the Lord Vishnu Temple
Phoenix Settlement in Inanda and the larger Inanda Heritage Route Inanda : Gandhi’s modest and unassuming home where he lived with his family is in Phoenix. The house was burned down in the 1980s, but was rebuilt as a museum. Close by is the Kasturba Gandhi Primary School (named after the Mahatma’s wife) and the Ohlange High School. The rebuilt house and schools are included on the Inanda Heritage Route that celebrates and commemorates the lives of numerous stalwart South Africans. Besides the Mahatma, the lives of late former President Nelson Mandela and first ANC President, John Langalibalele Dube are remembered on the Inanda Heritage Route
Hamidia Mosque Newtown, Johannesburg :Contains the Gandhi Memorial (also known as The Burning Truth), depicting a symbolic cauldron that commemorates the first recorded burning of pass books in South Africa in 1908. All South Africans (other than white South Africans) were required to carry pass books recording permission from the oppressors for them to move between one place and another. This was an especially oppressive and brutal component of the regime
Old Fort at Constitution Hill Braamfontein, Johannesburg :Where Gandhi was imprisoned and from where he put his Satyagraha ideology into practice. The site is home to fascinating exhibitions about Gandhi, late president Mr Nelson Mandela and other historic political prisoners in South Africa
Satyagraha House Orchards, Johannesburg : Where Gandhi spent many hours with his family and friends. The site contains old photographs, journals and letters. It’s also a private guest house
Smuts House Centurion, Pretoria : Gandhi and General Jan Smuts (Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and again from 1939 to 1948) had a complex relationship defined by adversity and mutual respect. The two of them spent many hours at Smuts House (now a Museum)
Eastern Cape Province
Olive Schreiner House Cradock : Olive Schreiner was an anti-war campaigner (during the Second Boer War also called the Second African War), South African intellectual, writer and great friend of Mr Gandhi. She and the Mahatma shared a mutual vision for a non-violent world where all people enjoyed dignity, respect, equality and peace. The friends spent much time together in her home in Craddock