Gandhi’s granddaughter remembers Mandela

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

DURBAN – Like so many who knew Nelson Mandela personally, it’s been a painful time for Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Indian independence movement leader Mohandas Gandhi.

“I think each one made their own personal contribution.”

The 73-year-old describes it as a surreal experience. “Even though he was ill and everybody expected this to happen, unlike with my grandfather who was assassinated and it was a shock, this too came to us as a real shock, so it feels like there’s an emptiness, there’s a vacuum,” Gandhi said.

Madiba’s legacy has been compared to that of Ela’s grandfather, but she pointed out the two were very different.

“I think to say the one was influenced by the other is to diminish that personal aura. So I think each one made their own personal contribution,” Gandhi said.

Robert Koenig writes in the St. Louis Beacon

It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa.

In a fitting coincidence of history, the two leaders were both lawyers who spent time in stinking jail cells in Johannesburg’s Old Fort prison — Gandhi in 1906, Mandela in 1962. It later became a museum to reveal the brutality of apartheid abuses. On the same hilltop where the prison’s notorious wards still stand, South Africa has built a gleaming new high court, the Constitutional Court.

Gandhi was “the archetypal anti-colonial revolutionary,” Mandela once wrote, describing the Indian leader as a role model. “Both Gandhi and I suffered colonial oppression, and both of us mobilized our respective peoples against governments that violated our freedoms.”

Gandhi says it is no coincidence that Madiba was laid to rest a day before Reconciliation Day, something she hopes all South Africans will reflect on.

“How forgiving are we? How have we tried to reconcile? How have we tried to build a common nation that Madiba called for as South Africans today?”

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Ela Gandhi’s used her grandfather’s famous philosophy as a guide to government.

She has urged South Africans to honour Madiba’s life by changing themselves to create a better world.

In her words, the power lies within us.

– Sources: eNews Channel Africa  &  St. Louis Beacon

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