PMB youth summit celebrates past leaders

2018-06-13 06:01
David Gengan addresses the crowd during the Mandela Gandhi Youth Summit last Wednesday. PHOTO: byrone athman

David Gengan addresses the crowd during the Mandela Gandhi Youth Summit last Wednesday. PHOTO: byrone athman

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THE Mandela Gandhi Youth Summit, hosted by the Winston Churchill Theatre last Wednesday, celebrated the lives and work of these two individuals with various speakers paying testament to them.

Celebrating 125 years of the Satyagraha Movement, the practice of non-violent resistance coined by Mahatma Gandhi , and 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela; guest speakers paid tribute to the two stalwarts and spoke about how the concepts depicted in their life’s work need to be explored now, more than ever.

Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee Chairperson David Gengan spoke about how the Satyagraha concept was first established in Pietermaritzburg the day Gandhi was thrown from the train.

“This is where the idea of Satyagraha first stemmed from. This is where a timid, shy lawyer became a public figure,” said Gengan.

Gengan also reflected on the fact that, like Gandhi who chose not to harbour hate in his heart after being thrown off the train, Mandela became a public figure due to not harbouring hate in his heart after serving 27 years in jail , instead choosing to move past it.

Former Msunduzi municipal manager Rob Haswell said that this part of Pietermaritzburg history is unique to most of the history of any city in South Africa and the world.

“Pietermaritzburg can show you authentic history of where Gandhi has been. We know where he walked and where he fell,” said Haswell.

Haswell questioned if there would have been such leaders as Mandela, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama had it not been for Gandhi.

“These leaders picked up Gandhi’s lessons,” proclaimed Haswell.

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