Item 1252 - Briefing Notes for Sonia Gandhi Reception

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ZA COM MR-S-1252


Briefing Notes for Sonia Gandhi Reception


  • 1994-09-01 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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Sonia Gandhi Reception

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  • English

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Shrimati Sonia Gandhi
I. Background Information
• Shrimati Sonia Gandhi (nee Maino) was born in Italy on 9 December 1946.
• After her early education, she attended an Interpreters School where she learned English, French and Russian. This was followed by a two year English language course at Cambridge. It was there that she met Rajiv Gandhi, who she fell in love with and later married.
• Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 during the election campaign in India.
• Sonia Gandhi holds no official position in India. However, she is highly respected in there as part of the Gandhi dynasty. Many people go to her to pay their respects.
• There have been moves by the Congress Party to involve her in politics. Thus far, Sonia Gandhi has refused to become involved. She is a reserved person and does not enjoy publicity.
• By virtue of her name and her involvement in fundraising and social projects, she does wield political influence.
• Mrs. Gandhi is chairperson of the following organisations and institutions:
0 Rajiv Gandhi Foundation
0 Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies 0 Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust
0 Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts 0 Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund
0 Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
0 Indian Council for Child Welfare
• Mrs. Gandhi is also a member of the International Advisory Group for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations. She is also a patron of the Round Square, an international group of schools based upon the educational principles of Dr. Kurt Hahnj; as well as the Nehru Trust for Cambridge University.
• Mrs. Gandhi's interests include Indian handlooms and handicrafts, Indian contemporary and classical art. She has a diploma from the National Museum of New Delhi in the conservation of oil paintings.
• Mrs. Gandhi has authored two books, Rajiv and Rajiv's World and has edited two volumes of letters exchanged by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi from 1922 - 1964, entitled Freedom's Daughter and Two Alone, Two Together.
2. The Book Launch
• Fatima Meer has edited a book on the collected writings and speeches of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. A film is also being made - The Making of a Mahatma - specifically relating to the Gandhi's role in South Africa and his contribution to this country.
• The book is being launched on the evening of Thursday 31 August 1995. Sonia Gandhi was invited buy Fatima Meer to the launch.
3. Sonia Gandhi's Programme
• On Friday, 1 September 1995, Sonia Gandhi is the guest of the ANC.
• On Friday morning she will be attending the opening of the Luthuli/Gandhi Peace Park in Phoenix, an Indian area in Durban. The opening of the park coincides with Arbor Day, and, for the occasion, Sonia Gandhi will be planting a tree.
• She will then be taken on a tour of the new settlement that has been developed in Phoenix.
• Phoenix is the largest Indian township in the country. There are about 25 units that make up this large formal settlement.
• The estimated population of Phoenix is 145 000 people (this is probably a conservative estimation), who are predominantly working class.
• Before lunch, she will visit an old aged home, the Aryan Benevolent Home, in the Indian area of Chatsworth. The event has been organised for elderly people to meet her and have tea with her.

• The Aryan Benevolent Home was officially opened by Swami Bhawani Dayal Sannyasi, on 1 May 1921. It was originally in Cato Manor, and in the mid- seventies moved to Chatsworth, after the Group Areas Act had kept the home moving around for many years.
• From the old aged home, Sonia Gandhi will be having lunch at the University of Durban Westville where she will be hosted by the Luthuli/Gandhi Peace Institute.
• Mrs. Gandhi will rest after lunch and join the president in the evening.
• Mrs. Gandhi will be staying at the King's House with President Mandela.



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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 22/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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