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Monday, November 23, 2020


(Satish Dhupelia)

Durban community activist and great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Satish Dhupelia, died in Durban on Sunday November 22– three days after his 66th birthday.

An immensely popular personality and keen animal lover, the tributes pouring into Facebook alone are an indication of how much Dhupelia was respected and loved.

The following report by Se-Anne Rall (courtesy of IOL) states:

The family said Dhupelia suffered from pulmonary fibrosis for many years. Three weeks ago he contracted pneumonia.

"While in hospital, he picked up a superbug which led to a second admission. During this second visit, he picked up Covid-19. He was being treated for Covid-19 and died of a massive heart attack on November 22," a family spokesperson said.

He is survived by his two sisters, Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie and Kirti Menon; his children Misha, Shashika and Kabir; his brother in-laws, Rajend Mesthrie and Sunil Menon; and his nieces, Sunita and Sapna.

Dhupelia worked as a teacher and was an avid photographer and videographer.

During the transition to democracy, he produced many newsclips for international companies. He was a well sought-after wedding photographer, always experimenting with new technology.

He was a volunteer of several groups. He was a trustee of Phoenix Settlement, the farm started by his great-grandfather Mahatma Gandhi. He also served on the management committee of the Gandhi Development Trust which was started by his aunt, Ela Gandhi. He took the lead in running the Gandhi Outreach Programme by supplying hampers to many informal settlements and the poor.

Dhupelia believed in getting to know those whom he helped. He was also a member of the Sydenham/Sherwood Community Police Forum, a member of the Durban Amphitheatre Market Committee, and a board member of the Clare Estate Crematorium and the 1860 Heritage Centre.

He was particularly keen that the 1860 Heritage Centre transform itself from an ethnic museum to one that spoke about and to all South Africans. As a board member, he often took groups of children on a tour of the museum. He also chaired numerous conversations at the centre.

His family said while others talked and wrote about Gandhi’s teachings, Dhupelia lived his great-grandfather’s message.”

Owner and editor of artSMart, Caroline Smart, remembers him fondly. “We went back many years since the time when I was one of the presenters for the television arts magazine programmes. His genial nature, sense of fun and sympathy for those in need was unwavering. Rest in peace, Satish – I will certainly miss you.”

Dhupelia's funeral will take place on Monday November 23, 2020, at 17h30 and will be attended by close family. The funeral will also be streamed on the Gandhi Development Trust Facebook page.

The family has suggested that those who want to pay their respects to donate a sum of money, instead of sending flowers, to any charitable organisation for the poor, the homeless and any animal welfare society.