Week-long commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary concludes in South Africa


JOHANNESBURG: A week-long series of events across South Africa on October 2 to mark the 151st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi culminated on Thursday with a special screening of the 1996 film ‘The Making of the Mahatma’ by renowned Indian filmmaker Shyam. . Benegal.

The project was initiated by Anju Ranjan, Consul General of India in Johannesburg, supported by the High Commission and her consular colleagues in Durban and Cape Town.

“We spent the last week on a special ‘Gandhi Trail’ tour, visiting the many sites where he led the march, the courts in which he was tried and the prisons he was sentenced. Hence, the film It is appropriate to conclude the yatra here this evening with the one who recreates all of that,” Ranjan said.

“We learned through this week’s activities how Gandhiji changed the face of both South Africa and India,” Ranjan elaborated.

The screening of the film was co-hosted by Avalon Group CEO AB Moosa, whose grandfather Dada Abdullah was responsible for bringing young lawyer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to South Africa to fight the legal battle.

On his way to Pretoria for that matter, Gandhi was inexplicably thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg station because he was sitting in a coach reserved for whites. This led to his decision to stay in South Africa for the next two decades to fight discrimination through the Satyagraha philosophy.

“It has shaped much of our ethos, not only in terms of our business, but in making sure we honor the Mahatma’s legacy,” Moses said.

“The Making of the Mahatma” was a 1996 Indo-South African period drama, which chronicled Gandhi’s 21-year turbulent stay in South Africa. The film was based on the book “The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma” by the late South African freedom fighter Professor Fatima Mir, who also wrote the screenplay.

“I had the pleasure of being on the set when Shyam Benegal was making the film, and we worked closely with him on this production. When we look at this type of material and reflect on Gandhian philosophy, we hope that it will restore within us the important values ​​and principles that he propounded,” explained Moses.

Shaan Moodley, who had assisted as a novice filmmaker, praised the film’s aesthetics, despite being made on a “fine budget”.

“It was the combined talent of production director Ashok Mehta and Benegal that made the film more of an epic than a cheap film. I remember how through his eyes we were able to do things with limited technology at the time,” Moodley recalled.

Veteran activist Prema Naidu, whose grandfather Thambi Naidu was described as ‘Gandhi’s right hand’, said the celebration of his birth in the year of 75th anniversary of India’s independence made these celebrations more special. .

“Gandhi played an important role as a spiritual leader – one who believed in honesty, satyagraha, non-violence and action,” Naidu said. He also lauded other leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Kalam Azad and Bhagat Singh. Freedom Struggle of India.

Naidu also recalled India’s role in supporting South Africa’s fight against apartheid.

“The representative of the African National Congress in India, Mossi Moola, was granted full diplomatic status and was highly recognized. Many ANC leaders who were in exile could not get South African passports to travel. It was the Indian government that granted them Gave travel documents,” he said.

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