The children and grandchildren of South African anti-apartheid icons endorsed on 1 March the 11th international Israeli Apartheid Week and urged citizens to join the campaign.
The event was attended by the descendants of Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Yusuf Dadoo and other South African struggle stalwarts at the Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia.
Obakeng Chikane, the son of Reverend Frank Chikane, said holding the press conference at the historic Liliesleaf Farm where many prominent anti-apartheid leaders were arrested was symbolic.
“Liliesleaf farm was chosen for the launch of today’s Israeli Apartheid Week to remind people of our past and for the freedoms that we fought for,” he said.
The international Israel Apartheid week features a number of events aimed at raising awareness about Israel’s occupation of Palestine and crimes against the Palestinian people.
It also serves to garner support for the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Shaka Sisulu, in the bloodline of Walter and Albertina Sisulu said, “As we launch Israel Apartheid week, we wish to remind South Africans of where we have come from, a time where the government separated and oppressed people based on nothing else except how they were born.
“We wish to evoke the spirit of Walter Sisulu and his comrades who strove for a just peaceful society, a democratic South Africa,” he said.
Aaliyah, the niece of Ahmed Kathrada, criticised Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
“I endorse the Israeli Apartheid week to ensure a better future for Palestinian children, so that they too can live safely and freely as we the children of post-apartheid South Africa do,” she said.
In a statement released after the event, relatives said, “There is a dangerous tendency in South Africa to romanticise the past. Yes, we have a lot to be proud of but romanticism must not lead to paralysis. We gather here today to remember our forefathers and mothers – not just in name, but in action. Standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people is one form of actively remembering our forebears and liberation heroes.”