Phoenix settlement: Our first stop of the second day was at the heritage site – the Phoenix settlement, established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904. The settlement is located on the north-western edge of Inanda, some 20 kilometres north of Durban. 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 a 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.
Phoenix represented a belief in the equality of all labour, the value of manual work and a simple communal lifestyle. It was an important site of resistance during apartheid. Activists from all over the country came to Phoenix for political education and training programmes.
Ohlange Institute: From the Phoenix settlement, we drove off to the Ohlange Institute founded by John Langalibalele Dube in 1900. Dube was a founder member and first president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) which was renamed as the African National Congress (ANC) in 1923.
The idea of the institute came after 1897 after Dube’s trip to the United States for seminary training. Deeply influenced by Booker T Washington, an African-American educator who founded the world-famous Tuskegee Institute, Dube believed education was a means for black economic and social advancement. Upon his return, Dube established the Zulu Christian Industrial Institute on 08 August 1900. The land on which the school was built was donated to Dube by Chief Mqhawe of the AmaQadi.
The institute became the first Black-directed institution. On 20 August 1900 the school opened with 63 male students, half of whom lived on the campus. At first the school had only four instructors: Dube, his wife Nokutela, Pipile Msweli and John Mdima.
Some of the prominent leaders who graduated from the institute include Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Judge John Hlophe, Thoko Didiza, Penuell Maduna and more.
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