Johannesburg Gandhi house sold

 The distinctive house in Orchards, Johannesburg, where Mahatma Gandhi lived  from 1908 to 1910 and refined his Satyagraha philosophy of non-violent 
resistance, has been sold.

 The buyer is French specialist tour company Voyageurs du Monde, and the sale  was negotiated - at well above the original R2,8m asking price - by Sylvia 
Cook of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in Johannesburg.

Voyageurs du Monde, which is listed on the Paris stock exchange, intends to  preserve the Orchards house as a heritage property and use it as a "place of 
pilgrimage" for visitors specifically interested in Ghandi's life and the  Satyagraha creed that was the foundation of the Indian independence movement 
and inspired other civil-rights leaders such as Martin Luther King and  Nelson Mandela.

"We are absolutely thrilled with this outcome," say Nancy and Jarrod Ball,  who have owned the house for 28 years and were determined that it should be 
sold to a buyer that would honour and promote its Gandhi heritage, as it is  one of the few places the peace icon lived that has not been destroyed.
"Voyageurs du Monde is passionate about the property and this arrangement  will enable more people to share its peaceful atmosphere. In addition, the 
company has invested in other heritage sites around the world, so has the expertise as well as the means to preserve and maintain it properly. It 
would also like to establish a Gandhi museum here."
Built by architect Herman Kallenbach, who was Gandhi's friend and confidant,  the house is informally called "The Kraal" because of its distinctive 
thatched roofs and rondavel style. It has five bedrooms and is set in a  beautiful garden graced by large trees and many flowering shrubs.
When the Balls bought the house in 1981 (for R65 000) it was run down and  needed renovations to the roof and windows, and new wiring. It has also been 
enlarged since then, "but we always tried to preserve the original character of the house. We've done it with a lot of love and respect," says Nancy 
Ball, an American-born artist.
"Gandhi lived under this roof, he walked through these rooms... and happily now we can pass it on to people who will really cherish this connection."
Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby's International Realty in SA, says: "I'm  proud that we could obtain a premium price for this historically very 
significant property."

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