n Historia - Introduction : South Africa-India : towards close scholarly ties




The idea for this volume emerged from a colloquium "The Bonfire of 1908 : Passive Resistance Then and Now" hosted by the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at the University of the Witwatersrand on 18 August 2008. The colloquium formed part of a broader set of events to commemorate the centenary of the burning of registration documents which marked an important phase in Gandhi's satyagraha campaign. Along with CISA, these events were organised by the Indian High Commission and Gandhi Centenary Committee and included a film festival, a school's essay competition and a walk from MuseuMAfricA to the Hamidia Mosque in Newtown, Johannesburg, the site of the original bonfire of 1908. Several hundred people in specially designed T-shirts participated in the walk and then gathered to hear representatives of families who had links to the satyagraha campaign as well as political dignitaries from India and South Africa speak. Thereafter there was a reenactment of the burning of passes with participants throwing replicas of the original registration documents into a fire in a cauldron. The colloquium itself also included a lecture by Kader Asmal at the Constitutional Court on the topic "Passive Resistance : Then and Now".


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