A Beautiful Interview with Ela Gandhi

Posted by on Feb 14, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

A beautiful interview with Ela Gandhi.


For Ela Gandhi, a peaceful strategy was the key to emancipation for an oppressed South Africa.

Violence never solves anything, she says.

A skinny Indian lawyer with the mark of greatness – who was thrown off a train in Pietermaritzburg for defying in principal an unjust law – once said that Ahimsa – a sanskrit word which means respect for all living things and the avoidance of violence towards others – is one of the world’s greatest principles which no power on earth can wipe out.

“Thousands like myself may die in trying to vindicate the ideal, but ahimsa will never die,” he said.
It was in fact Ela’s grandfather who uttered those words – Mahatma Gandhi.

And for his granddaughter, a 75-year-old who exudes the wisdom of life with a calming sense of peace about her, this principle was the tactic used against the oppressors who she said, did not know any better.

We meet Gandhi at her home in Durban on a windy afternoon. The views from her upper most level flat are breathtaking. So are the black and white pictures of her grandfather which sit above a piano.

She hugs us as we enter.

“May I offer you some tea? Or something to drink?”

We decline, eager to hear her story as a women’s rights and peace activist.

She starts by recalling her family life as a chatterbox of a young girl growing up in Inanda, in the Pheonix settlement which was established by her grandfather. There was no variation between caste, colour, creed or gender or race, she says. Everybody lived together as one.

Continue reading full story with photographs