Marchers honour SA peace-makers

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Religious groups and hundreds of members of the public participated in the third yearly 22km Salt March in Durban yesterday in memory of the country's fallen peace-makers - Steve Biko, Chief Albert Luthuli and Mahatma Gandhi.

Large numbers of people from all walks of life participated in the march, which started at Gandhi's house in Phoenix. All participants were awarded Gandhian medals and T-shirts at the finish on Battery Beach.

The aim of the march is to educate people, especially the youth, about the role played by these leaders in achieving peace in South Africa.

The Salt March originated in India in 1930 when thousands of people undertook a banned march to collect salt as a protest against the unpopular salt tax imposed by the British colonial government and as part of the campaign of non-violent resistance to British rule in India.

During the march - believed to be the biggest and most powerful defiance march in history - Gandhi and 60000 protesters were arrested and detained without trial. Many of the marchers were assaulted by the police, but they did not respond to this with violence. The campaign of non-violent resistance eventually secured freedom and independence for India.

Ghandi's granddaughter, Ela Gandhi, said at the march in Durban yesterday: "Today, more than ever, people need to be reminded of non-violence. Negotiations and patience need to be cultivated for us to build a better and brighter world for future generations."

March organising committee chairman Ronnie Govender said: "It is important for the younger generation to have an understanding of Gandhian philosophies and how peace can be achieved through non-violent means."