Satyagraha House

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Gandhi House
Satyagraha House
Satyagraha House 4.jpg
the Kraal
Established 1 January 2007 (2007-01-01)
Location 15 Pine Road, Orchards, Johannesburg
Coordinates 26°09′09″S 28°04′28″E / 26.152539°S 28.074392°E / -26.152539; 28.074392
Type Johannesburg's historical heritage
Curator Lauren Segal
Website satyagrahahouse.com

Satyagraha House, commonly known as Gandhi House, is a museum and guest house located in Johannesburg. The house belonged to Mahatma Gandhi: he lived and worked there between 1908 and 1909. It is registered as part of Johannesburg's historical heritage. Satyagraha means insistence on truth. The house was designed by the architect Hermann Kallenbach for Gandhi and himself.

History[edit]

Gandhi, Sonia Schlesin (Gandhi's secretary), Hermann Kallenbach

Gandhi spent 21 years in South Africa, from 1893 until 1914, although he made visits to India and the UK during that time.[1] It is said that Gandhi first learnt about racial discrimination when he was arrested at Pietermaritzburg railway station for travelling in a whites only wagon.[2]

In 1904, Gandhi met Hermann Kallenbach, a German-Jewish architect who had arrived in the country in 1896. In 1907, Kallenbach designed a house that was based on the shape of two local huts (rondavels)[3] but made with European building methods. It was named the Kraal, which means barn in English and Afrikaans.

Plaques

The house had stables and a tennis court, but both of them led a life of meditation and chastity. Gandhi slept in an attic room which he entered via a ladder, but he and Kallenbach shared the same kitchen and entertained their guests in the living room. The houses did not have connecting doors, and it was necessary to leave one house in order to enter the other. Kallenbach's life was transformed by their life together and the money that he spent on himself was cut to a tenth of its initial figure.[4] They left in 1909, and the house had several owners[5] before being bought in 2009 by the French travel company Voyageurs du Monde to the chagrin of the Government of India who wanted to acquire it as an Indian national monument.[6] The French company had it restored and opened it to the public as a museum and guest house in 2011.

The museum is managed by Lauren Segal,[1] who also manages other museums, including the Apartheid Museum.[7] Satyagraha means "truth force", a reference to the concept of non-violent resistance developed by Gandhi when he lived in South Africa.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Serene Satyagraha House opens". City of Johannesburg. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Gandhi History in South Africa, accessed 18 June 2013
  3. ^ "Hermann Kallenbach", Artefacts.co.za, accessed 18 June 2013
  4. ^ "Who was Hermann Kallenbach", DNA India.
  5. ^ "the Museum". satyagrahahouse.com. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Smith, David (9 October 2009). "French firm wins bidding war for Gandhi house". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Musum, satyagrahahouse.com, accessed 18 June 2013