`Africa transformed Gandhi from lawyer to leader`

"You produced a lawyer and we produced a leader out of him".

Updated: Jun 04, 2010, 00:28 AM IST

New Delhi: "You produced a lawyer and we
produced a leader out of him".

This is how South African President Jacob Zuma today
described the association of Mahatma Gandhi with his country.
Gandhi`s thought and ideology greatly influenced the freedom
movement there, Zuma said.
"You produced a lawyer and we produced a leader out of
him (Gandhi). The South African freedom struggle was greatly
influenced by the thoughts and ideologies of Gandhi, the
apostle of peace," the visiting president said at a function
organised by FICCI here.

He described India as the "elder brother" of South Africa
and said both the countries stood by each other in the
difficult times.

"These difficulties helped us understand each other
better. We have a history that is unique between the two
countries. It is a relation of 150 years and the historic
relations will keep on challenging generations to generations
as to how to strengthen the ties further," Zuma, who is on his
first official tour to India after taking over in May, said.

This year, South Africa will celebrate 150 years of
arrivals of Indians there, he said.
Seeking to enhance economic ties with India, Zuma said he
has brought a huge delegation of businessmen for improving
trade relations between the two countries.

Bilateral trade has multiplied manifold over the last
decade. While it was 2.5 billion dollars in 2002, it rose to
7.5 billion in 2008-09.

Zuma also said he felt it proper to visit India ahead of
his country hosting the soccer world cup this year.

"We thought that we should not get into 2010 (football
world cup) without coming to India. We thought we should come
to India to pay an official visit (before the event). That is
why I am here," he said.

"We want to grow with each other`s help. The elder
brother always provides help to younger brother. The elder
brother always helped the younger brother at all difficult
situations," he said.

Zuma also favoured greater south-south cooperation. He
said he felt very much at home in India.

Earlier, addressing the function, South African Minister
for International Affairs Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said there is
huge scope for the two countries to deepen their relations.

On Zuma`s "close association" with India, he said in a
lighter vein, "he can even differentiate between an Indian
curry made in Durban and an Indian curry made in Delhi."

PTI