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TOP City officials braved the overcast Lenasia weather, together with hundreds of eager walkers, for the 26th annual Gandhi Walk which honours the late peace activist and former South African resident.
SCORES of Joburg residents braved the icy, overcast weather in Lenasia to join the likes of the executive mayor Amos Masondo and other City officials for the 26th annual Gandhi Walk.

 

Executive mayor Amos MasondoExecutive mayor Amos Masondo: Gandhi Walk a walk for health and unityThe event, which attracted some 2 300 people, took place on 27 March in the predominantly Indian suburb south of Johannesburg. Its aim is to honour the late Mahatma Gandhi, a peace activist who refined his philosophy of passive resistance during his time South Africa.

Entrants started off just after 8am and finished at the Gandhi Hall on Impala Street in Extension 5, with the choice of two distances – 15km and 7km.

Ahead of the starting gun, Masondo mentioned that, “Like all of you here, I feel privileged and honoured to be part of this event, the 26th annual walk, a walk for health and unity.”

He said that with all that is going on globally, in strife-torn countries such as Libya, it is imperative to think of Gandhi and his ideals of peace and reconciliation.

Others in attendance included Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi; portfolio head of Joburg transport Rehana Moosajee; Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian Consul-General in Joburg; and struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada.

Scenic route
The routes took in the suburb’s old age home, cricket stadium and recreation centre, as well as the Signet Terrace shopping centre.

People of all ages take part in the fun walkPeople of all ages take part in the fun walkEach of the two distances had a further five categories - a junior category for entrants 19 years and under; a senior category, 20-34 years for females and 20-39 years for males; a veteran category, 35-44 years for females and 40-49 years for males; a master category, 45-54 years for females and 50-59 years for males; and finally a grand master category for females 55 years and older and males 60 years and older.

Trophies were awarded to the first three winners in each category and each participant received a special commemorative item.

Lenmed Health staff members were on hand to examine visitors for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Other sponsors included Lenasia Volkswagen, Nedbank, State Bank of India, Soni Jewellers, Harvey World Travel, Coca-Cola South Africa, Johannesburg Water, Afrifocus Securities, Channel Data, Vaibhava Sarie Centre and a host of others.

Dance performances and stalls, strategically placed at the Gandhi Hall provided entertainment not only for walkers but also for those who just flocked to the venue for a day out.
The annual walk forms part of the community’s schedule of functions and events.
 
Interesting history
Ismail VadiTransport MEC Ismail Vadi takes part in the fun walkDuring the 1980s, the Transvaal Hindu Seva Samaj began construction on a community hall, called the Mahatma Gandhi Hall, for the needs of the area’s Indian community. It catered for weddings, religious gatherings, meetings and functions for all residents. The hall also accommodated a vernacular school and a temple, according to the Gandhi Walk website.

Lack of funds hindered the realisation of these objectives and a loan was the only solution. Community stalwarts Chagan Chiba and Mahon Hira came up with the idea of a walk to raise funds for the loan’s repayment – they are now the event’s regular organisers.

The initial walk took place in 1986. Following the success of the first few walks, a group called The Gandhi Walk Committee gave the event its official name - the Gandhi Walk.

Although the debt has since been settled, the committee continues to hold the walk to maintain the hall, which provides indoor and outdoor facilities and also a youth wing for safe and supervised recreational and training opportunities.


 

Gandhi Walk winners
Clich here for a list of winners.
Over the years some 35 organisations have benefitted from funds raised through the walk. The Amrit Bhowan Scholarship Fund; Ananda Marga Mission; Aryan Benevolent Home; the Hare Krishna Food for Life; the Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre; Jayant Ooka Quadruplets Fund; the Johannesburg Council for the Disabled; Jiswa School for Mentally Handicapped; the Lenasia Intercultural Organisation; and the Lenasia School of Music are just a few of the beneficiaries.
 
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