Mahatma Gandhi’s historic house here that was his home almost a century ago has been snapped up by a French tourism company for what is believed to be almost twice the asking price of $377,029, outbidding other bidders including Indians.
The specialist touring company Voyageurs du Monde, which is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange, plans to turn the property into a Gandhi museum in line with its philosophy of investing in heritage properties worldwide.
As a young lawyer, Gandhiji lived in the house from 1908 to 1910. The thatched-roof rondavel-style house was designed by Gandhi’s confidant and architect Hermann Kallenbach.
The previous owners of the house, Nancy and Jarrod Ball, bought the house for Rand 65,000 in 1981 and have sold it because they are retiring to the coast.
The couple said they were very relieved that the buyer would be respecting the Gandhian heritage that had also led to them retaining the original character of the home.
Informally referred to as ‘the Kraal’, the house in the leafy suburb of Orchards in Johannesburg is one of several that Gandhi lived in during his stay here as he developed his Satyagraha philosophies and led the local Indian community in their struggle against oppression.