French tourism company buys Gandhi’s Joburg home

French tourism company buys Gandhi’s Joburg home

A French tourism company has bought a house in Johannesburg where Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi lived for three years.

Voyageurs du Monde paid almost twice the asking price of $ 377,029 for the house. It plans to turn the property into a Gandhi museum “in line with its philosophy of investing in heritage properties worldwide”.

American artist Nancy Ball has lived in Gandhi’s Johannesburg house for 25 years, but is now moving away. She put the house up for sale after failing to find an institution interested in preserving the building’s legacy.

Gandhi lived there for three years from 1907 when he began to formulate his philosophy of non-violent resistance.

Gandhi lived in South Africa for 21 years, working as a lawyer and activist.

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He fought for the right of Indians in the country to be treated as citizens - a feat he eventually achieved before returning to his native India.

She told South African newspaper, The Times, that Indians who had visited the house had always found it an interesting experience.

“We believe he left a lot of his peace here. It’s a very special place,” she said.

The House in Orchards in Johannesburg is one of several legacies left by Gandhi in South Africa. Johannesburg is also home to Gandhi Farm, where Mahatma Gandhi and his followers stayed and practiced their philosophy of Satyagraha.

In Durban, the most famous Gandhi legacy is the Mahatma Gandhi Settlement in Phoenix, north of Durban, where Gandhi initially devised his Satyagraha philosophy.

Gandhi’s fight against racial discrimination in South Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s is today recognized with several institutions, streets and religious and cultural organisations named after him.