Over 150 volunteers celebrated the 94th birthday of renowned South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela by riding on their motorcycles through the capital and spreading his message of peace and change.
Organised by the South African High Commission Wednesday evening, members of motorcycle group Free Soul Riders (FSR) rode from the high commission’s office in Vasant Vihar area to Raj Ghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
“We all came voluntarily. Although we belong to FSR, the rally was open to anybody who had a motorbike and believed in Mandela and his principles,” a participant told IANS. “It was not a coincidence that we chose Raj Ghat as our place of gathering today. I always say, if Mandela is our father, Gandhi was our grandfather,” South African High Commissioner Harris Majeke said in his address.
Drawing a parallel between Gandhi and Mandela’s philosophies, Majeke said the South African drew inspiration from Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement of 1906 and India’s struggle for freedom. He added that after his release from prison, India was the first country that Mandela wanted to visit. Also present on the occasion, Gandhi’s grandson and noted author Rajmohan Gandhi recalled Mandela’s visit to India in 1990 and said that he would like “Indians to embrace Mandela and his ideology and make him a hero,” just like his grandfather is a hero for South Africans. “Gandhi and Mandela, both were passionate fighters for freedom, justice and reconciliation,” he added.
Watch the Bikers for Nelson Mandela Day highlights video, with Morgan Freeman here: