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29.7.09


A house in Johannesburg, where Mahatma Gandhi had lived for three years when he was in South Africa, has been put up for sale by the owner, but it has so far found no takers with even the Indian-origin community members showing little interest in buying it.

Hidden away on a quiet street in Orchards, north of central Johannesburg, the house was designed by Gandhi's confidant and architec Hermann Kallenbach.

Its distinct thatched roofs and rondavel style gave the house its informal name "The Kraal". Gandhi lived in the house with Kallenbach for three years from 1908.

The owner of the house Nancy Ball, who has been living in the house for the past 25 years, wants to move to Cape Town and she has put the house on the market after failing to attract someone with an interest in preserving its historical legacy, the Timesnews paperr reported.

However, she did not reveal the price of the house.

She enlisted the support of Stephen Gelb, founding director of the Centre of Indian studies in Africa at the university of Witwatersrand, on a voluntary basis, to try to find a suitable buyer.

Gelb tried to solicit the interest of prominent Indians in South Africa and even explored the possibility of Wits acquiring the property for use as a residence for visiting professors.

"There is little interest among members of the Indian-origin community and also from Wits University," Gelb told the Times.

Ball said: "Mahatma Gandhi left a lot of his peace here. It's a very special place."

The House in Orchards in Johannesburg is one of several legacies left by Gandhi in South Africa. In Johannesburg, there is another area known as Gandhi Farm, where Mahatma Gandhi and his followers stayed and practiced their philosophy of Satyagraha.

In Durban, the most famous Gandhi legacy is the Mahatma Gandhi Settlement in Phoenix, north of Durban, where Gandhi initially devised his Satyagraha philosophy.

Gandhi's fight against racial discrimination in South Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s is today recognized with several institutions, streets and religious and cultural organisations named after him.

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