About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand

1869 - 1941

An Indian lawyer who settled in Natal in 1893, he was one of the pioneers of the liberation struggle in South Africa. He played an important role in inspiring the Indian people to resist the indignities and unequal treatment meted out to them by the government in terms of taxes and restriction of movement to other parts of South Africa. He was instrumental in establishing the Natal Indian Congress* (NIC) in 1894 and soon afterwards initiated a number of his trade-mark passive resistance campaigns in an effort to gain the vote for Indians.

Gandhi served as a stretcher-bearer in a medical unit during the South African War and thereafter started the newspaper Indian Opinion to articulate Indian concerns. In 1906 he again implemented passive resistance and joined by a large following of Indians, conducted another non-violent initiative, basing the campaign, as before on his philosophy of satyagraha. He led a number of strikes to protest against unfair labour practices in Natal and in 1913, in an attempt to persuade the authorities to lift restrictions on Indians entering the Transvaal he organized a protest march from Natal, an endeavour which led to his arrest and temporary imprisonment. An inspirational leader, Gandhi left South Africa for India in 1914.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.