South Africans opening up to Indian culture

JOHANNESBURG: South Africans are increasingly embracing Indian culture, opening up historical venues to Hindus to celebrate religious events.

“The way in which other communities have embraced Hindu cultural activities is a direct result of the Rainbow Nation ideal of former President Nelson Mandela,” said the Chairman of the Gauteng chapter of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, Sinthal Ramiah.

“We find that even the few whites who sometimes resist temples or mosques being built in their areas in their areas become friendlier when they learn what the Indian cultures are about,” Ramiah added.

School buildings and other such premises here are serving as temporary avenues for Hindu community in South Africa to celebrate Navaratri and other religious functions.
The Sanathan Shakti Society, a recently-formed Hindu organisation, hosted first ever Navratri Yatra in country’s Gauteng province, which has seen numerous religious activities in the last few days.
The society uses facilities at the Eastleigh Primary School, but has started plans to have its own temple, said its chairman Nilesh Premlall.
The Tshwane Chariot Festival 2013, hosted by Iskcon, saw a procession from Church Square to the Union Buildings, both historic sites in the capital of Pretoria.
Both Church Square and the Unions Buildings were forbidden to people who were not white in the apartheid era.
The same lawns on which free vegetarian food was being enjoyed by hundreds used to be splattered with signs warning that non-whites and dogs were not allowed on them.
Further north, Baha’I National Centre made its facilities available on Saturday to the Randburg Hindu Cultural Society to celebrate Navratri as well.