Johannesburg: Renowned former Proteas cricketer Jonty Rhodes; Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and veteran freedom fighter Ahmed Kathrada have lent their support as South Africa prepares to celebrate the International Yoga Day.
“The endorsement by these high-profile people is further evidence of the universal acceptance of yoga as something that can benefit everyone, irrespective of their religious or any other affiliation,” Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam said here on Friday as South Africa gears up to celebrate the first-ever International Yoga Day on June 21.
As many as 13 cities will hold events to mark the 5,000- year-old Indian physical, mental and spiritual practice that aims to transform body and mind.
“India was supported in its motion to adopt this day by 177 countries at the UN, 46 of them from Africa, including South Africa,” said Randhir Jaiswal, Indian Consul-General.
The biggest event is expected to be in Johannesburg, where scores of yoga schools are expected to organise events incorporating a series of talks and Ayurvedic lectures at the prestigious Summer Place.
The Indian Consulate is also organising an essay writing competition on the theme of ‘Yoga for Healthy Living’, and the winners will be sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to India.
In the coastal city of Durban, provincial Premier Senzo Mchunu is expected to join Consul-General Rajagopalan Raghunathan on the beachfront to lead an expected 25,000 yoga enthusiasts.
There will be events in all but one of South Africa’s nine provinces, in some cases at up to six different venues in a single province.
Ghanashyam said: “Yoga has nothing to do with religion. It originated at a time when religion as we know it today was not even understood or known.
“At the end of the day, Yoga is aimed at helping yourself; understand yourself better and become more in harmony with nature and your surroundings,” Ghanashyam added.