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CHTM - Gandhi Settlement

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Sapna Sahadeo

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of CHTM - Gandhi Settlement

The Gandhi Settlement
Ways To Improve The Site
The Phoenix Settlement, established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904, is situated on the north-western edge of Inanda, some 20 kilometres north of Durban. Sita Gandhi writes “my grandfather’s farm … was fifteen miles away from the city, and in those days around us were plantations of sugar cane fields. Over 100 acres of land was called Phoenix Settlement. It was the most beautiful piece of land, untouched by the then racial laws.”

The settlement restored

After the 1985 Inanda Riots, the Settlement was badly damaged and taken over by about 8 000 informal settlers. Since then, the Phoenix Settlement Trust has faithfully restored the buildings and gardens to their original state and established an interpretation centre and museum. Sushila Gandhi (the wife of Manilal and mother of Sita and Ela) sees the “institution as a memorial to Gandhi,” and writes that it “will always be a place of pilgrimage, for those who seek inspiration to better their lives and gain a little from the great men who have passed on.” The Settlement and the immediate surrounding area is presently collectively known as Bhambayi (Bombay).

Mahatma Gandhi's Family Home in the Settlement

The cultural significance of the Gandhi Settlement was based on living heritage and intangible heritages including tangible objects, the practices, representations, expectations, expressions, knowledge, skills as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with communities, groups and in some cases individuals recognized as part of their cultural heritage. Intangible heritage were also taken into account which is generally understood to refer to the social, spiritual or symbolic values associated with Gandhi Settlement, for instance; unmarked burial sites, places associated with important events or leaders and features of the land with mythical or religious significance
It includes living heritage such as cultural beliefs, traditional customs and rituals, music, language, oral traditions, indigenous knowledge systems, local memory and the cultural spaces in which these traditions are played out, and the culture of Africa and other previously marginalized communities. As the significance of the intangible heritage is primarily based on community values rather than those defined by experts, emphasizing "traditional bearers rather than scholars" (Bouchenaki, 2007: 107), the formal recognition of intangible heritage can be interpreted as a progressive and democratizing move, potentially empowering previously silenced voices in the Gandhi Settlement.
Based on Gandhi's belief in the humanity of all people and his association with people from different racial, ethnic, religious, caste and class backgrounds, many of whom either lived at or visited phoenix, the settlement can be interpreted as a symbol of unity and diversity.
Why Is The Site So Unique And Special?
Since the Gandhi Settlement is faced with the problems aforementioned, there are some improvements that can be made to make it better for tourists and for its residents.
High Rates of Crime

Security and police must be implemented into the area, especially as there are tourists who could be put in danger.

The Informal Settlements (Imijondolo
The area should go under reconstructiom so people have better housing; ie. low cost housing. The other option is for these people to move into better areas.

There Is Nothing Attractive ->
The infrastructure can be improved and superstructures can built in the area. eg. shopping malls
Mahatma Mohandas Karamchund Gandhi
A part of the Gandhi Settlement
Weaknesses of the site:

• High rate of crime
• the place had informal settlements(imijondolo)
• high rate pollution
• there is nothing attractive about the place- one could never think of it as a tourist attraction

Strengths of the site:

It provides a strong community for the people living there
People feel a sense of pride living in a place that was once managed by Mahatma Gandhi
Easy access to help from community as neighbours are close by
It allows one to see where and how Gandhi lived and to see the things he did in the area
Map of Gandhi Settlement in Inanda
The Settlement, devoted to Gandhi's principles of Satyagraha (passive resistance) has played an important spiritual and political role throughout its long history, promoting justice, peace and equality. Gandhi established the settlement as an communal experimental farm with the view of giving each family two acres of land which they could develop. He believed that communities like Phoenix which advocated communal living would form a sound basis for the struggle against social injustice. His granddaughter Ela Gandhi points out that Gandhi used the Settlement "to train political activists called satyagrahis as well as house their families, while they were engaged in the campaigns against unjust laws". Her sister Sita describes the Phoenix Settlement as a lively, bustling community, a veritable kutum. Market gardens were established, their diary supplied milk to all the homesteads on the settlement as well as the neighbourhood, and they produced their own butter and ghee for domestic use. Everbody on the settlement had to participate in communial activities, such as the daily prayers and singing of hymns which Gandhi himself had instituted.
An idea of the low-cost housing development
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