Ela Gandhi recalls the hero she called ‘Black Pimpernel’

2013-12-07 00:00

ELA Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, said Nelson Mandela was “instrumental” in ending the violence in KwaZulu-Natal through non-violent means.

“He told the people to throw away their sticks, put down their weapons and reconcile. His legacy of peaceful negotiation must be remembered,” said Gandhi, a Durban-based human rights activist.

She said Mandela had a “deep relationship” with the South African Indian community and had “great respect” for her granddad.

“In 1995 I travelled with Madiba to India for his first visit to the country. In a short seven-day trip he took the time to visit and talk to the people behind the anti-apartheid movement.

“He also visited and placed a wreath at my grandfather’s grave and visited the ashram in Ahmedabad where my grandfather lived, spending two days there. Mandela was deeply moved,” said Gandhi.

A young adult when Mandela was arrested, Gandhi said she called Mandela in the 1950s and 1960s the “Black Pimpernel”.

The name was based on the lead character in the play The Scarlet Pimpernel, set during the French Revolution’s period known as the “Reign of Terror”. The hero of the play rescues people from execution and is a master of disguise and a quick thinking escape artist and he becomes the subject of an international manhunt by the French revolutionary authorities.

“He [Mandela] was this black man who was able to challenge the powerful government machine. He would be on TV and radio, make public appearances and still not be caught. He was our hero,” said Gandhi.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.