Research done by a New Delhi advocate and author has shown that Gandhi had close ties and friendships with some of the ANC’s early presidents when he was still alive.
Advocate Anil Nauriya was speaking at the Durban University of Technology during the annual Mahatma Gandhi Media Lecture.
According to Nauriya, Gandhi often used to tell audiences in India that he was an advisor to several black South African leaders.
Nauriya, who wrote a book in 2006 about Gandhi called African Elements in Gandhi, said the information he had collected from South African libraries and journals will be compiled into a another book as an extension to African Elements in Gandhi.
He said the information he had found revealed that Gandhi knew several of the early founders and presidents of the ANC.
“I found that he (Gandhi) respected them and they respected him, and this is a culture that should be continued,” he said.
During his lecture at the university, Nauriya said Gandhi wrote about John Langalibalele Dube in his journal in 1906 praising him on his manifesto that he had written.
“He wrote that Dube made an eloquent speech and he was an African whom one should know. He kept in contact with Dube,” he said.
He said Gandhi in 1912, along with the then president of the Indian National Congress, Gopal Gokhale, visited Dube at his Inanda home.
“In 1924 Gandhi became the president of the Indian National Congress, so that meeting was a powerful moment in history … almost like they foresaw that Gandhi would later be president himself,” he said.
He said material he had collected revealed that Gandhi had interaction with the ANC’s president who succeeded Dube, Sefako Makgatho, as well as the following president, Pixley ka Isaka Seme.
“In his journal it showed that Gandhi took notice of these three presidents,” Nauriya said.