While Gandhi had a gaze that eschewed any alliance with Africans, it is noteworthy that African leaders of the time were also not far off from Gandhi in sucking up to Empire and embracing the European civilising mission.  The first president of the South African Native National Congress (which became the ANC), John Dube, wrote of the need to lift “the native people out of the slough of ignorance, idleness and superstition”.  In front of a white missionary audience, he asked: “Who was it who taught us the benefits and decency of weaving clothes?  Who was it who taught us that not every disease was caused by witchcraft … that a message can be transmitted by writing on a piece of paper?”

Read the Article by Ashwin Desai, professor of sociology at the University of Johannesburg, first published in BDlive on 20 April 2015 – Many of SA’s idols have clay feet.