A Gandhi museum, ‘The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial’, has been inaugurated on a small piece of land once owned by Mahatma Gandhi in Durban. Many original artefacts, some retained unrestored, such as a spinning wheel, are on display at the museum. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh inaugurated the museum.
The museum will reflect the life and universal influence of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, first conceived eight years ago, has been established after a grant of over R 1.25 million was provided by the Government of India to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Trust (MGMT).
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government also contributed about a million rand for the project.
Gandhi owned the land in 1897 and used to hold public meetings there when the Natal Indian Congress planned its fight against laws discriminating against Indians in South Africa.
When Gandhi left Durban in 1914, he transferred the ownership of the premises to the Natal Indian Congress, which had planned to erect a new building in 1964.
But the plans were scuppered by the apartheid-era laws prohibiting this, resulting in the site being used as a car park by the 1980’s before the MGMT initiated the museum plans.
An exhibition titled ‘Gandhi in Durban’ has been set up at the newly-constructed venue by the Durban Local History Museum in consultation with the MGMT, reflecting the life and universal influence of Mahatma Gandhi.