“This Gandhi-Mandela wall really commemorates and celebrates the enduring connection that has existed between these two great leaders. They may not have met, but they are connected through ideas, through the essential message that reverberates through lives,” Virendra Gupta, High Commissioner of India in South Africa, told CNBCafrica.com.
“Both these leaders walked the talk, they did what they preached. They left to us, people in South Africa, India, indeed the rest of the world, their message of peace and reconciliation, for nonviolence, and they told us that this is the only effective and enduring way to resolve our differences in this world.”
The wall, which was launched on Thursday at the foundation in Johannesburg, is a collection of photographs of Indian freedom activist Mahatma Gandhi and South Africa’s anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela throughout their years. The wall also has a digital interactive video and audio feature for smartphones.
Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of the activist Gandhi, who was also present at the exhibition, explained that the exhibition’s digital element in particular would be instrumental in attracting more young people to not only the exhibition but to learn more about Gandhi and Mandela.
“There’s this generation gap, [but the exhibition] has made it interesting for young people,” she said. Ela is the daughter of Gandhi’s second son, Manilal Gandhi, who had settled in South Africa in 1917 from India.
Maniben Sita, who was also an active member of the struggle and passive resistance in the 1940s South Africa, was also present.
The exhibition will be open to the public until October, which, according to Gupta, is a prime opportunity to continue both activists’ legacies.
“South Africa and India share very close and cordial relations, in whichever way you look at it. Historically, we’ve had close empathy in our freedom struggle, connected by these two individuals. We’ve built on that in recent times by very dynamic economic and commercial relationships, a lot of trade- about 15 billion dollars [worth],” said Gupta.
“We work together now as governments, at a people to people level, cultural relationship, [and] we have a large diaspora in this country. We’re not only working for ourselves, we’re also working for the common cause in the interest of the developing countries.”