The event, which was scheduled to begin at 15:00, began at around 17:00. Attendees kept themselves occupied during the delay by singing struggle songs.

Sasco provincial deputy chairperson Surgeon Masooane was the programme director for the evening. Members of the panel included the mayor of Tshwane Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Sasco provincial secretary Billy Sepuru and Palestine ambassador to South Africa Hafiz Noval.

The event was part of a solidarity campaign and discussed possible ways of creating a non-racist, non-sexist and classless nation in Israel.

In his opening remarks Sibusiso Mpongose, Tshwane regional chair of Sasco said, “As a country with a shared experience, we are called upon and unapologetically associate ourselves with the people of Palestine.” He added that, “In the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘Our freedom is not complete without the freedom of those in Palestine.’”

One of the speakers of the evening was Dr Essop Pahad, former ANC national executive committee (NEC) member. He spoke of the importance of having solidarity with nations in need of liberation. “None of us would be sitting in this room today and be able to celebrate 20 years of democracy if it was not for international solidarity. It is important because it enables us to raise the level of political consciousness of others and ourselves,” Dr Essop said. He added that South Africans need to reflect upon their own responsibility towards others who are struggling in order to achieve an ideal state in South Africa. Dr Essop urged students to be active and to not only speak of solidarity but to identify the elements that would enable them to mobilise the masses of students in support of the struggle in Palestine. “It is up to us to find those concrete manifestations around which we can mobilise people,” he said.

An example of the “concrete manifestations” was the boycotting of goods manufactured in Israel. Sasco NEC secretary general Luzuko Buku urged the South African government to remove the Israeli embassy in South Africa. “We cannot continue to nurse apartheid relations in our country,” said Buku.

This is the tenth IAW. It is hosted among 250 cities worldwide. In South Africa, it is hosted by more than 15 universities.

Image: Israeli Apartheid Week SA Facebook page

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