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Jai Ambe


Maniben Makan Gordhan


Aug 22, 1918 – May 13, 2006



Shree Makanbhai Gordhan Gaghda


Jun 18, 1910 – July 14, 1992


Jaya Siya Ram

It’s been a year since we lost Ba, and although there are not enough words to express our love and appreciation for all she done, for all she was, we pay tribute to her memory today, not in grief, but in celebration of her life.

We are confident that Mataji and Gurudev will take exceptionally good care of Ba, OUR LEGEND, in her journey forward. 

Maniben was the only daughter born to Ratanben and Monjibhai Govind in Lalpur, India.  She learned the skills of rural life in India.  In her early years she contributed to the family finances by adding the money she earned from bead making projects.  At the age of 10, she lost her mother and took on the responsibility of taking care of her brother and father and maintaining the household while still attending school.

These hardships awarded her the firmness and will to succeed.  In spite of all obstacles and hardships she involved herself in cultural activities of the community.  She sang, acted and produced plays and sketches and was highly acclaimed for her lead role in the Dance Drama “Nur Damyenti”.


Gandhi Bapu behind jail

Maniben's Patriot Protest for Independence

Maniben took active part in Quit India movement - struggle for independence- Swaraj   As the leader of the Indian National Congress party Gandhi launched Swaraj, a campaign for independence and non-cooperation with the British authorities.


"Gandhi had many many weaknesses but he had one strength --when he found truth, he wouldn't let it go." The Mahatma was the greatest mass leader that India, or probably the world has ever known.


Maniben was quick to support Mahatma Gandhi in his Sathyagraha demonstrations in Lalpur against unjust British rule and remembered the March song until her last days.


Awake Oh Government!

The drums of Death are Beating on you

We do not fear for you strength

We will hurt a lot but we will Sacrifice our Lives

For what we believe is True!


She married Makanbhai Gordhan in 1934 when she was 15.  After spending a year in Kutyiyana, Makanbhai’s traditional family home where she took care of the family, then departed for South Africa on a ship “Theria”.


Her first son Girdharlal was born at their home in Stanger, Durban, South Africa.  Next born were Jaysooklal, Ishwarlal, Tara, Vasanti, Gopal, Vijay, Lux and Kris.  Life was very challenging but, with her conviction to succeed, she met all challenges successfully. Life in Durban was very challenging in general for Indians in particular. Strict apartheid Laws residential segregation trading and travel restrictions especially for Guajarati’s in 1945 the family moved to Newcastle where Makanbhai started a very successful jewellery manufacturing business.  Their home became a halfway station for all community members traveling to Johannesburg.  Their warmth and hospitality fascinated many a weary guest.  In 1949 the family moved back to Durban.  As a result of success of the business the Gordhans could pursue their studies and careers.  The family boasts successful businessmen, teachers, a doctor and a physical education coach.

A Community Leader

Mani Ben was a natural leader and her booming voice, wit an eagerness to serve the community earned her many duties at community weddings, prayers and festivals.  Her jovial and vociferous nature earned the title “Radio Truro”.  She was a mother not only to her children and grandchildren but also to the community, neighbourhood and members of the Divine Life Society of South Africa.  She had the ability to convert strangers into life long friends.


She was a community leader and advisor on matters of customs, traditions and home made remedies for common ailments.  She readily shared and imparted her knowledge making her an individual that everyone admired, respected and loved.     


Later in life with age and weary limbs, But mind was in always in focus on Mataji, the family and Community. When asked for her special message and philosophy of life she stated quite categorically that unwavering devotion to God, Service to her family and Belief in the goodness of the community are facets that had moulded her in times of stress.  She always missed her husband, Makanbhai, son, Jaysooklal, daughter, Vijaylakshmi, and son in law, Maneklal Devjee. 


Ba dedicated her life to her family, friends, community, neighbourhood, Divine Life Society…… to humanity.  Her warmth and understanding made friends of all who were blessed to have met her.  She would entertain us with her wit, humour and charm.  The courage, faith and determination she showed and taught is reflected in the success of all her children and grandchildren who all feel very blessed to have had her as their anchor.  Her knowledge, moral and spiritual values made her a community leader.  With her unwavering devotion to God she, together with her colleagues, tirelessly served at Navratri Festivals for 29 years. With the same devotion she served Mataji and the community. 


Jai Ambe and Hari Om.


Today, one year since her demise, we pay tribute to her memory and achievements as a mother, leader, friend, humanitarian…………..A LEGEND!




In Memory of
BHAI (Makanbhai Gordhan)


Makanbhai Gordhan, son of Gordhan Ramjee and Rupdev Naja, born in Kutiana, Jamnagar.  He was one of six children who immigrated to South Africa September 22, 1910.  He was walking, talking encyclopedia in so far as religion, home made Indian remedies, gardening and jewellery manufacturing.  His special interest in bangle cutting made him the best in the country. With his little hammer and chipna he would just cut the most beautiful bangles. People would want him to borrow tools from their shop, they knew they would come back polished and repaired if they were broken,


He had a heart of gold and is fondly remembered for his generous nature.  Unhesitatingly, he shared his knowledge and wisdom and enriched the lives of those lucky enough to have gotten to know him. 


He loved to feed the animals and was known to make trips to the market and bring back boxes of bananas to feed the monkeys in his backyard, also take all the children to feed the monkeys at Burman Bush, where there were always lots of monkeys. 

Makanbhai fought for Equality

He helped the African National Congress, for which he lost his license to deal in gold. Apartheid laws were very hard on people who helped the Congress.  We really admire you for all your efforts, and the hardships you endured after you lost your license. It was not an easy task; we were a family of 11.He now started to manufacture in silver gold plate and sell to the local north Indian community, it was hard. But with trust in God and honesty he made a living.  It was not long after that Girdharlalbhai, finished STD 6 and took training from Bhai; he then open ‘Girdharlal Bros’again dealing in gold which earned a sterling reputation for skilled workmanship, honesty and integrity. At that time Girdharlalbhai astounded the Jeweler Fraternity with his vision skill and success.


At the very peak of his jewellery career Girdharbhai set out on a humanitarian course building classrooms for Divine Life to educate Black children in rural areas. Many were stunned by this but not the Makan Gordhan Family steeped Divine life and God realization service.


Girdharlalbhai is now Swami Ananda in Gauteng where he heads the Sohum Ashram for the indigent for the last 20 years in Johannesburg.


Bhai had a strong calling to Mataji and Gurudev and spent his final years at Sohum Ashram. He made his last flower garland for his Guru on Guru Purinma Day, and then came Gurujee’s call. He must have been a saint in previous birth but some thing was not complete he had to finish in this birth. All of us sibilings are proud to say who our parents were. We also thank Mataji for that. Makanbhai left a legacy of exceptional spiritual devotion, love and respect.


Our parents are really missed by all the family. They left behind 20 Grandchildren and 22 Great grandchildren.


May their Souls find eternal peace. Our parents loved to feed the underprivileged. This is what we will be doing in S. Africa on their teetis.(death anniversaries)


Jay Ambe from the Makan Gordhan Family 



Swami Ananda, Sohum Ashram -  Pretoria (SA)

(Late)Jaysooklal Makan Gordhan

Ishwarlal Makan Gordhan - Toronto (Canada)

Luxmidas Makan Gordhan - Durban (S.A.)

Gopal Makan Gordhan - Toronto (Canada)

Kris Makan Gordhan, Durban. S.A.

Daughters-in law
Godavari Bhabi M. Harilal - Durban, S.A.

Nirmala Bhabi Mathuradas Harilal
Abeeda Bhabhi

Veena    Mohanlal Valjee (Dhanak)

Mina Daya Bhai (Challa)

Dede Bhabhi



Tara Gowri Jaysooklal Hirjee,(Sagar) - Toronto - Canada

Vasantiben Maneklal Devjee(Dhanak) - Durban - S.A

(Late) Vijaylakshmiben Victor Ernest - Durban - S.A.