Satyagraha House, Johannesburg: B&b and beyondA little corner of South Africa will be forever India, thanks to a new B&B in an old haunt of Gandhi's, says Sarah Khan
It's a little unexpected, to be sure, to stumble upon French and Indian influences combining in the heart of Johannesburg, complete with staff scurrying about in starched white kurtas, bearing freshly baked baguettes. But that's just what guests find at Satyagraha House, an elegant French-owned ode to Mahatma Gandhi secreted away in the Orchards neighbourhood.
Gandhi spent 21 years in South Africa, from 1893 to 1914, arriving as a prim England-trained lawyer in tailored suits, and leaving a civil rights champion enrobed in simple Indian garb... Read more
Ela GandhiEla Gandhi, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi visited Satyagraha House in Johannesburg, on wednesday 30th may.
Ela Gandhi is the daughter of Manilal Gandhi, one of the most concerned son of Gandhi by Satyagraha struggle in South Africa and member of Tolstoï farm.
Ela Gandhi, today living in Durban (South Africa) had lunch and visited the Satyagraha House museum for nearly 4 hours, talking with Didier Bayeye our manager and also Eric Itzkin, one of the best historian specialized on Gandhi’s life in South Africa and consultant for Satyagraha House project.
We are very proud of this visit and thank again Mrs Ela Gandhi for her visit. She promises next time, she would come for an overnight. It will be our great pleasure. We are proud Mrs Gandhi came, loved and validated the whole work accomplished on the very particular project in Johannesburg… Satyagraha House
Tara GandhiA few days ago, we had a very pleasant surprise from a very important person from India. "Tara Gandhi" Vice-Chairperson Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti and Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial trust that was establihed in 1945 by Mahatma Gandhi in memory of his wife. Tara Gandhi is the daughter of Gandhi's last born son Gavadas Gandhi. She was very touched by the place and never retained her feelings about the place, uniforms, the linen, furnitures and the spirit in the house. Finally congratulating Voyageurs du Monde for the work done at Satyagraha house.
Press releaseWorldwide press release
Satyagraha House official openingThe opening was attended by senior Indian and French diplomats and tourism representatives.Opening Speech (Jean Francois Rial, CEO Voyageurs du Monde) :
Firstly thanks for accepting our invitation to discover this house.
This project has been like realizing a dream for me. When I was a teenager I discovered Gandhi and his fight against racism and towards religious tolerance. I was fascinated by his life.
So, when I discovered two years ago that the house where the Mahatma lived with his architect friend, Kallenbach, was for sale, the dream was born.
This dream was to create a place where the spirit of Gandhi and his philosophy could continue to live and thrive.
So, why did our company buy this house and develop the project?
Because the main values of Voyageurs du Monde (and its 800 employees of over 40 different nationalities), is to promote universalism if all the different cultures, religions and people of the world.
So doing this project will become the light of our company because in this way we will never forget our values and the reason WHY we built Voyageurs right in the beginning.
We feel that promoting the Satyagraha values is especially important in the world we all live in together.
This projet will be never a profitable organisation. All the revenue will go back into the house and its museum. Up keep, maintenance, staff.
This project would never have seen the day if we had not had the chance to work with an incredible team here :
Laureen Segall our museum designer, Eric Itskin our specialised historian, Rocco Bosman our marvellous architect, Didier Debaye our house director, mister ? our landscaper, Christine, Amit and Alexandra for all their impeccable taste and "savoir faire" in the interior decoration.
I want to say a very special thank you to Fabrice Dabouineau who has done an outstanding job in coordinating the whole project, and of course, to my partners and friends Alain et Lionel who never held me back or opposed this seemingly crazy project!