Mandela, Gandhi’s parallel lives focus of new exhibition

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

The parallel lives of iconic leaders Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi will be showcased alongside each other in an exhibition launched in the city yesterday.

Mandela Gandhi, which runs at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre in Buitenkant Street, looks at similar “principles of peace, truth, nonviolence and reconciliation” of the two men.

The exhibition notes informs that viewers “would be surprised at the number of times Mandela and Gandhi’s lives run parallel”.

The shared values of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi are the focus of an exhibition at the District Six Musuem's Homecoming Centre. Both leaders spent time in Cape Town and fought against oppression. Picture Supplied

The shared values of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi are the focus of an exhibition at the District Six Musuem’s Homecoming Centre. Both leaders spent time in Cape Town and fought against oppression. Picture Supplied

“The times they intersect they are based on the situation of that time and region. The exhibition outlines the development of their moral fibre and how the core principals of leadership are the same between the two leaders,” it continues.

Its curator Birad Yajnik said yesterday the exhibition consists of the “making of Mahatma and Madiba, the transformation, the legacy of 144 years and finally parallel lives”.

He said the four installations that form the exhibition “uses the latest digital technology along with rich media content to deliver a user experience that engages the visitor”.

“A real time quiz challenges the visitor, while collections from the archives of India and South Africa intrigue,” said Yajnik.

“Videos of the great icons commenting on similar subjects a few generations apart show how parallel their thinking was. It’s a modern digital experience with wisdom of the past that can help the future.”

Yajnik used 21 digital applications to “engage a visitor for over 45 minutes”.

The exhibition also showcases Mandela’s “connections with India, his visits and the emotional connection with Indian people”.

Yajnik added: “It will outline Mandela’s inspiration from Gandhi and how the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence helped shape his own transformation and adoption of the values of peace and reconciliation.”

District Six museum director Bonita Bennet said the exhibition chose to host the exhibition as it was a “space dedicated to the many stories which make up humanity”.

“The exhibition gives us further insights into the lives and values of two people who are recognised in all the far corners of the world. The stories of their lives illuminate to us the possibilities that we all have to do good,” said Bennet.

In July, Gandhi’s granddaughter Ela Gandhi, who lives in Durban, held a commemoration event for the 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s departure from South Africa to India. The event was held at St George’s Cathedral in the city.

The exhibition is a collaboration between India’s high commission in South Africa, the national arts and culture department and India’s culture ministry. It is part of the year-long Festival of India in South Africa and runs until September 14.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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