Culture

Mahatma Gandhi’s Legacy In South Africa

Home to the largest Indian population outside of India, Durban, a city in South Africa was once a longtime home to Mahatma Gandhi.

The city has played its part as a starting place for the young Indian lawyer’s political activism and representation of the minority.

Today, the place is proof of multiculturalism, and a symbol of how the cultures of South Africa and India are linked.
Over 150 years ago, a large number of Indian people made their way across the ocean arriving into Durban in search of work in the city’s sugar cane industry.
Today descendants of those that migrated have a strong connection to their families’ stories.
“My grandfather came from India for better prospects” says Ranjith Kally, a local photographer.
“When my family were brought here, they were told there’s gold all over the city streets and there’s a good life. Then they were made to go and work in the sugar fields. That’s how they came here.”
Today, over a million Indian people live in Durban province. This sense of history runs deep among South Africa’s Indian communities. It’s a story that’s embodied by Mohandas Gandhi.
In 1893, a 24-year-old Gandhi arrived in Durban to settle legal disputes between traders — he quickly became active in local politics representing minority Indian communities.
Gandhi would end up spending 21 years in South Africa, working to give South Africa’s Indian communities a political voice.
In 1894 he helped establish the Natal Indian Congress, the region’s first political advocacy group to represent the views of Indian people to the government and the press.
Today, Durban’s Indian communities aren’t defined by class or the struggles and political activism of their ancestors.
Durban is now a hub of Asian culture where their heritage survives in multiple forms from music and food to festivals and dance.
Source: CNN
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