Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

The majority of South Africa's Indian community reside in the greater Durban area and are descendants of indentured laborers, pulled from their homeland, to work on sugar cane fields.

In 1893 a young Indian lawyer travelled to South Africa to provide legal aid. During his initial weeks in the country, this young lawyer, a Mr. Mahatma Gandhi was treated poorly due to the color of his skin. Gandhi's turning point was reached on a train in Pietermaritzburg where he was thrown off after refusing to leave first class.

From that moment, what was supposed to be a short stay in South Africa turned into a 21 year quest of equality, justice and human dignity. Through peaceful protests and immense personal suffering for the cause, he changed the lives of millions.

It was Gandhi who established the Phoenix settlement I stayed in with friends. The homestead he lived in during his years in Africa is a 15 minute drive away, now located in an African township. Amidst wooden shacks dotting the landscape and the hustle and bustle of the daily life of people who do all they can just to scrape by, lies a serene oasis comprised of a printing press building, a lecture hall, a few monuments and a home. Walking onto the property where Gandhi resided is like walking into another world. There's a peaceful air about it.

The walls inside his replicated house are lined with quotes of others in regards to the man Gandhi became along with his own quotes and tidbits about his life.

Natasha, Micky and Val in front of Gandhi's house
Val, Natasha, Micky (who had never been, although they live just minutes away) and I were all moved by what we saw and read.

At one point I turned to Natasha and said "it's amazing the change that one man can make in the world."

"Yes. We highly underestimate ourselves," she replied.

 If only we would see our true potential, what amazing feats we could make.

1 comment:

Patti said...

"We highly underestimate ourselves." That made me stop and think. Thanks for sharing the conversation, and the tribute to Gandhi. He is inspiring.