City celebrates Gandhi

The best way to celebrate the legacies of Mandela and Gandhi is to ensure that young people develop strategies to challenge social injustices wherever they arise, said the chairman of the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee, David Gengan, at yesterday’s Mandela-Gandhi Youth Symposium at the Winston Churchill Theatre.
“Gandhi was not flung here but rather he was launched here, he upheld the principles of truth and non-violence and Mandela maintained his belief of promoting freedom for different ethnic groups – their roles in shaping the world will not be forgotten. To the young people I hope that we make the commitment to create strategies to eradicate racism and xenophobia and other issues that our society faces,” said Gengan.

The symposium which is part of the two day event planned to commemorate the 125 year anniversary Mohandas Gandhi being thrown off a ‘whites-only’ train carriage at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station.
Local historian, author and a former mayor of the city Rob Haswell said the significance of the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station to world history was that the celebration of this experience transcended merely reading a plaque but involved actually experiencing what happened to Gandhi.

The two-sided bronze bust of Gandhi depicting his transformation from a barrister to the ‘Mahatma’ will be unveiled today.

“If I were to see a plaque that says Martin Luther King was here, I know he was there. If I see a plaque saying there was somebody great here I can see that. At the railway station I can see that but the actual foot prints, the platform even the room where he was held, you can actually feel what he went through, it is a sacred place. This is where it happened,” said Haswell.
Satish Dhupelia, great grandson of Gandhi focused on the importance of Satyagraha and how the youth should focus on helping people through the power of social media.
“As young people we should not promote violence but rather we should help other people. A hungry man is not a happy man. When celebrating an event use that to make a difference in a less than fortunate person’s life – include them in your celebrations. Ask yourself is it worth celebrating in isolation? Use social media to help make a difference,” said Dhupelia.

  AUTHOR
Shorne' Bennie

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