Coronavirus: Indian community events in South Africa stand cancelled

Fakir Hassen

Johannesburg, Mar 16 (PTI) Three of the biggest annual charity and cultural events in South Africa organised by the local Indian community stand cancelled following the declaration of a National State of Disaster over the coronavirus outbreak.

In Durban, ISKCON, organiser of the Durban Festival of Chariots that attracts tens of thousands of people to the beachfront, have decided to postpone the much-loved festival to a more appropriate time later this year.

'The decision has been taken in careful consultation with all stakeholders, who place the health and safety of local and international guests, participants and the greater community as top priority,' the organisers said.

The festival was scheduled for the Easter weekend.

In Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, the 35th edition of the Gandhi Walk, the oldest event in South Africa commemorating Mahatma Gandhi, has been postponed. It was scheduled for April 5.

'Following a meeting by the organising committee and in consultation with various parties and stakeholders, the committee decided to postpone the event because it takes the health, safety and well-being of its walkers, volunteers, partners, sponsors, members and the community at large very seriously,' the Gandhi Walk Committee said in a statement.

Also in Lenasia, the much-awaited annual gala fund-raising banquet of the Saaberie Chishty Ambulance Service, which provides free service to the needy of all communities, has been postponed.

The three organisations joined scores of religious, sports and cultural organisations that have cancelled or postponed major events following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that gatherings of more than 100 people are now prohibited in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI FH IJT