In 1907, German architect Herman Kallenbach built a thatch-roofed house on a street corner in Johannesburg, bordered by two hut-shaped, circular rooms. It was in this very house, that iconic Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, spent his days seeking the truth, and crafted a term to capture its clout.
The Sanskrit term, Satyagraha, means “truth force”, and was the core principle of civil disobedience campaigns that stimulated human rights programmes the world over. Gandhi began teaching the concept of Satyagraha after a distasteful incident on a train ride to Pretoria, in which he refused to leave his seat to the advantage of a European passenger. This was followed by an 8-year long movement, promoting non-cooperation with the South African government, to fight against discrimination of Indians in the country. The movement bared the fruit of a compromise with the government, to relieve Indians of their struggle.
The many years that Gandhi remained in South Africa in pursuit of peace, and the lasting legacy that he left behind, made it only fitting that his South African home be named after him. Hence, Satyagraha House, a guesthouse and museum, came to being. The house was obtained and restored by Frenchman Jean-Francois Rial, CEO of travel company, Voyagers du Monde. His vision was for the house to be a place where visitors could submerge themselves in the tranquillity and simplicity that was synonymous with Gandhi’s lifestyle.
Visitors to Satyagraha House can now enjoy an enriched stay, courtesy of its collaboration with spa and skincare brand Africology, creating a distinct relaxation and wellness experience. The collaboration, unveiled on Thursday, presents visitors with an original Africology encounter that rejoices in the quintessence of Africa and the knowledge of traditional healers. The tailor-made spa treatments include comprehensive therapy that brings together Ayurveda, the Indian science of life, and African plants and plant oils, to nurture personal welfare. Treatments are entrusted to expert massage therapists well versed in the Africology AfriVeda ritual.
Fabrice Dabouineau, the current director of Voyageurs Du Monde remarked that “Here, the cultures of Africa and India are as one. At the same time, the Africology experience is all about bodily and spiritual harmony. The philosophical fit with our new Africology partners is ideal. The beneficiaries are our visitors who will find the Africology spa experience perfectly complements their visit.”
Africology founder Renchia Droganis, a pioneer with deep insight of the interplay between body and mind, mentioned that “Satyagraha House already offers so much – the history of Gandhi’s stay here in 1907 while still developing his concept of truth force, the on-site museum, the gardens, the vegetarian cuisine favoured by Gandhi and the guesthouse. This venture has created a meaningful synergy between wellness and wisdom, embracing my philosophy on the inherent kindness of humanity while realigning the senses. Two worlds brought together on one divine journey.”
The alliance between Satyagraha House and Africology has also given rise to the conception of the signature fragranced candle, Satyagraha 1907, very aptly-named due to the house being constructed in 1907. This exclusively produced sandalwood candle, containing pure essential oils, will be burned throughout spa treatments and be on sale. To enhance the offering, Africology is providing the house with the Authentic hotel amenities range, consisting of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion and lavender infused sleep gel.
Satyagraha House is a gift from French social investors to South African citizens, where all South Africans are offered free admission to the museum. All on-site revenue is leveraged to meet upkeep expenses, enhance facilities, aid social upliftment and contribute to a profit-share programme for staff.
Visitors to the house are often struggle tourists who have an enduring interest in Gandhi’s influence on liberty and national revival. Renchia Droganis’ background offers a thought-provoking echo with this journey to regeneration. Before débuting her chain of spas and collection of sustainable wellness goods, she was an established holistic healer who worked with state prosecutors, guiding victims of apartheid to unearth the mental strength to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In need of a break?
Satyagraha House is the ideal destination to take your mind off the pressures of day-to-day life.
Find the guesthouse at 15 Pine Road, Orchards, Johannesburg, 2192.
To make a booking, dial 011 485 5928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit their website at satyagrahahouse.com.
Like them on Facebook.
Celebrate Africa’s Heritage!
Once you’ve had your luxurious Africology spa treatment, why not enjoy some exquisite African art? Read about the We Are Africa Exhibition to find out more.
Zeenat, a digital intern at ELLE Decoration, is a creative at heart with a passion for weddings, fashion and makeup. She adores blissful moments of solitude spent indulging in a warm cup of Rooibos tea, and red velvet cupcakes.
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