On Sunday, 6 May the 3rd Annual Mahatma Gandhi Salt March was held in Durban. The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, who is a trustee of the Gandhi Development Trust, was invited to be the co-director of programmes for the event. The 22km march began at the Phoenix Settlement in Inanda and ended at Battery Beach in Durban, where Gandhi’s ashes were immersed into the sea.
ACCORD’s very own Sam Siyaya (Senior Programme Officer, CIMIC programme) participated in the march and completed the full 22km. Well done Sam!
The Salt March is a re-enactment of the original Salt March that took place in India on 6 April 1930. The march was organized by Gandhi and was regarded as his biggest and most powerful defiance campaign. The primary objective of the Dandi march was to achieve full independence of India. Gandhi mobilized hundreds of people from all over India and marched 241 miles in 24 days from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to the tiny seaside village of Dandi and defied the tax on salt by making their own salt.
Ela Gandhi, the Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, described the significance of the Salt March in Durban as leading people on a path of peace and nonviolence. Ms Gandhi also continued to say that “The South African Defence Force as well as our foreign policy has upheld the function of peacekeeping, negotiations and of goodwill with neighbouring countries. This is an important principle which we would like to highlight as all those who will be marching in commemoration of the Salt March are marching for peace.” “If everyone observes this important clause in our Freedom Charter [clause 10] we would surely have world peace.”
Clause 10 of the South African Freedom Charter states that:
- There shall be Peace and Friendship
- South Africa shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations;
- South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation not war;
- Peace and Friendship amongst all people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all;
- The people of the protectorates Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland shall be free to decide for themselves their own future;
- The right of all peoples of Africa to independence and self-government shall be recognized and shall be the basis of close cooperation.
ACCORD’s Training for Peace and CIMIC programmes both train civilian peacekeepers and police who are involved in peacekeeping missions throughout Africa and internationally. In 1996 ACCORD was recognized by the United Nations as a model for peace, and in 2005 Vasu Gounden was the was the first member of an African NGO to address the United Nations Security Council. ACCORD has also worked with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi, with former President Masire on the Inter-Congolese Dialogue peace process and with the South African government in preparing rebel groups for the negotiation process in Burundi.
This year’s Salt March also commemorated many significant South African anniversaries including: the 30th anniversary of the death in detention of Steve Biko; the 40th anniversary of the death of ANC President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Chief Albert Luthuli; the 60th anniversary of the “Three Doctors Pact” signed in 1947 by Dr A.B Xuma, Dr G.M Naicker and Dr Y.M Dadoo, the then presidents of the ANC, the Natal Indian Congress and the Transvaal Indian Congress respectively; and, the 90th anniversary of the birth of Oliver Reginald Tambo.