JOHANNESBURG: Satish Dhupelia, the South African great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, succumbed to COVID-19 complications here on Sunday, three days after his 66th birthday, a family member said.
Dhupelia's sister Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie confirmed that her brother had died of COVID-19 related complications after he contracted the disease in hospital where he had been under treatment for a month due to pneumonia.
"My beloved brother has passed on after a month of illness with pneumonia, a superbug contracted in hospital and then COVID-19 also contracted while he was being treated. He suffered a major cardiac arrest this evening," Uma said in a social media post.
Besides Uma, Dhupelia leaves back another sister, Kirti Menon, who lives in Johannesburg, where she is active in various projects honouring the memory of Gandhi.
The three siblings are descendants of Manilal Gandhi, who Mahatma Gandhi left behind in South Africa to continue his work after he returned to India after spending two decades.
Dhupelia, who spent most of his life in media, especially as a videographer and photographer, was also very active in assisting the Gandhi Development Trust to continue the work started by the Mahatma at the Phoenix Settlement near Durban.
He was renowned for assisting the needy in all communities and was active in a number of social welfare organisations.
Tributes poured in from his friends and dear ones.
I am in shock. Satish was a great humanitarian and activist, Politican analyst Lubna Nadvi said.
"He was also a great friend of the Advice Desk for Abused Women, and always assisted the organisation in whichever way he could, Nadvi added.
Dhupelia was also a member of the Board of the 1860 Heritage Foundation, which on Monday November 16 commemorated the arrival of the first indentured labourers from India to work on the sugar cane fields of Durban.
On the day, in one of his last Facebook posts for which Dhupelia was renowned, especially for his humour, he wrote: Let us also not forget that we still need to stand together to achieve our final goals of equality for all and an eradication of poverty.
Funeral arrangements of Dhupella have not been announced yet.