01 February 2013 by Denise Slabbert

In the spirit of Gandhi

Satyagraha House is a guest house and museum where you can take in the spirit of one of the world’s great peace-makers, Mahatma Ghandi, who lived there in the early 1900s.

The spirit of Gandhi lives on at Satyagraha House

'Truly speaking, it was after I went to South Africa that I became what I am now. My love for South Africa and my concern for her problems are no less than for India.' MK Gandhi, 1914

There is something special about being in a space once occupied by a great soul. There's a reverence that fills the air (maybe it's what we bring to the occasion, but whatever that feeling of reverence is, I like it).

Satyagraha House

Satyagraha House in Johannesburg, where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1908 and 1909, has been restored to a museum/guest house and a place of contemplation. It's a space where one automatically speaks in hushed tones, so as not to disturb the peace, and where Ghandi's eyes follow you from the many images on the walls, urging a little more kindness and understanding from those who visit this space.

While Gandhi may have lived here for only a short time over a century ago, his spirit remains. The minimalist decor speaks of his beliefs in simplicity and the garden is a place of quiet meditation.

Johannesburg, therefore, had the holiest of all the holy associations that Mrs Gandhi and I will carry back to India.

You can visit a mezzanine level, where he slept, while in the guest rooms there are no TVs ... or anything that hinders the peace of the place. If you'd like (and if you organise beforehand), the staff will organise yoga or meditation classes in the garden.

'I learnt during all those years to love Johannesburg even though it was a mining camp. It was in Johannesburg that the foundation for the great struggle of Passive Resistance was laid in the September of 1906 ... Johannesburg, therefore, had the holiest of all the holy associations that Mrs Gandhi and I will carry back to India.' MK Gandhi, 1914.

Interior of the sitting area

The life and times of Ghandi in South Africa are narrated through visuals and words, which quite simply take one's breath away. The experience of a visit to Satyagraha House isn't one that roars loudly – it's a quiet experience that stills the soul and begs that you come back for a little more of the same.

The guest house offers accommodation in four suites (including a guest cottage); for day-visitors, there is no entrance fee. Guests also have the option of booking out the entire property for the duration of their stay. Sathagraha House is situated at 15 Pine Road, Orchards, in Johannesburg.

Call + 27 (0)11 485 5928 for reservations, or email info@satyagrahahouse.co.za.

Where Gandhi slept. All images by Ryan James, Darling Lama Productions

Category: Attractions

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