Mbeki, Indian PM retrace steps of history

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Thabo Mbeki unveiled a plaque at Durban’s Resistance Park on Sunday.

Well known anti-apartheid activist Fatima Meer also spoke in Resistance Park, so named because of a “non-white” gathering held at the park in 1946 in protest against race laws.

The two men then proceeded to Ohlanga High School where they visited the grave of Dr John Dube, founding president of the African National Congress.

They then went to the Phoenix settlement established by Mahatma Ghandi in 1994.

Speaking at the settlement, Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan said it was important to take note of India’s role in highlighting the racial discrimination that took place in South Africa.

India was the first country to implement sanctions against South Africa over apartheid.

“This settlement is abiding symbol of the unity between South Africa and India, said Jordan.

The minister said he hoped to “strengthen the bonds of unity and friendship between South Africa and India”.

He said: “The best tribute South Africa and India could make to Mahatma Ghandi would be to help establish a world order free of war, want and exploitation.”

Mbeki also acknowledged India ‘s role in the fight against apartheid.

He said, “I do not know of two countries that share a leader [Ghandi] and hero like we do”.

Later in the afternoon the two leaders were expected to attend celebrations at Durban’s Kingsmead Cricket Stadium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance).—Sapa

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