Manilal Gandhi was born in India, the son of "Mahatma" Mohandas Gandhi, in 1892. He moved to Natal in 1896 to join his father who had moved to South Africa in 1893. His father, experiencing the colour bar, founded the Natal Indian Congress in 1894. In 1910, at the age of 17, he joined his father's non-violent satyagraha struggle for Indian rights in South Africa. Over the next three years he served four prison sentences, two for ten days and two for three months. In 1914 Manilal returned with his father to India. In 1917 he was sent back to South Africa by his father. He became the editor of newspaper Indian Opinion and ran the Phoenix Settlement, both established by his father. In 1946 he was jailed for 23 days for his involvement in the passive resistance movement. In 1951 he had an individual campaign against petty apartheid such as separate benches, libraries and post offices but the police declined to arrest him. On December 8, 1952 he was arrested with Patrick Duncan and others for his involvement in the Defiance Campaign and served 38 days in prison. This interview was conducted in September 1954 by George M. Houser, a founder of the American Committee on Africa at Phoenix Settlement. This was the only time Houser was able to get into South Africa until 1991. Biographical material source: From Protest to Challenge, Volume 4 by Gail M. Gerhart and Thomas Karis.
By permission of George M. Houser and the Gandhi family. Photo by permission of George M. Houser.
Collection: Private collection of George M. Houser