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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi keeps making news on the African continent as the furore over his statue in Ghana or the proposed statue in Malawi raise debates over his attitude to Africans, his belief in the redeeming qualities of the British Empire and his defense of white minority rule in South Africa. In response, there has been a virulent denial from those with a stake in Gandhi’s status as pioneering anti-racist fighter during his sojourn in Africa. If in India there has been an investment in myth of Gandhi as non-racial icon, in South Africa Gandhi also has his defenders. Most notably, Ela Gandhi, his granddaughter.

Ela Gandhi, 78, is the daughter of Manilal, Gandhi’s second son. She grew up Durban and was involved in the anti-Apartheid struggle (she spent nine years under house arrest) and became an MP of the ruling African National Congress, in 1994. She retired from politics in 2004.

An opinion piece she wrote at the end of last year in The Mercury, a popular daily newspaper in Durban, strains to find a way to continue the myth and iconography of her grandfather. Before dealing with the substantive issues in her…

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