Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokotho
You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock
The past month of July was an eventful one for the PSA. We explored the theme of food sovereignty and insecurity through our Climate, Land, and Palestine campaign and engaged with a number of climate justice and environmental activists based in South Africa, Palestine, and the broader African continent. Our aim as an organisation is to develop a sustainable campaign which focuses on and addresses the affects of colonisation and land dispossession on people in Africa and Palestine. This includes looking at the intersectionality of race, socio-economic class, and gender with climate change and exploring the affects of current events, such as Biden's visit to the Middle East discussed more in this newsletter, on Palestine.
Continuing with the intersectional lens, this Women's Month, we aim to take further the conversation on the affects of colonisation and land dispossession and explore it from a feminist perspective under the theme of Gender, Justice and Resistance. Every year during the month of August South Africa celebrates women and all that they represent for and to us. From Government to Workers and Civil Society Organisations to Communities, this month is used to commemorate the women who, on the 9th of August 1956, marched to the Union Buildings to fight back against an attempt by the Apartheid Regime at creating a system designed to limit and control women and black people as a whole through the Population Registration Act which required ‘black’ South Africans to carry a pass designed to maintain segregation and control urbanization.
In South Africa, Palestine and the broader African continent, women have been at the forefront of the resistance and liberation struggles, fighting tirelessly to work against regimes which seek to uproot, colonise, and displace. We know too well the consequences of colonialism and land dispossession on women, children, and other vulnerable groups with Apartheid, both in South Africa and Palestine, adversely affecting these groups. Women in Palestine have been instrumental in resisting Israel's continued oppression and Apartheid with young women like Muna El-Kurd, Sameeha Huraini, Janna Jihad, Ahed Tamimi, and stalwarts like Leila Khaled working tirelessly to ensure that the world is continually aware of the oppression of the Palestinians and that the liberation struggle maintains its fire and is not snuffed out by Israeli tactics and oppressive laws and forces, as is evident with the work being done by Sameeha Huraini in Masafer Yatta. Their work mirrors the work of the strong women who led us in Apartheid. They are akin to the likes of Winnie Mandela, Jessie Duarte, Albertina Sisulu, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Jospeh, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, and the countless others who fought tirelessly to bring about equal rights to all South Africans. The struggles of the Palestinian people is not too far off from what was faced and, in some areas, is currently on-going on our own continent.
We take example from these women who led us with strength, fortitude, and conviction; never wavering or faltering in their principles and their commitment to ensure that women in South Africa today are able to live in a society not marred by laws which divide us on racial lines. We pay tribute to Jessie Duarte and her life in this newsletter, while also celebrating the life of Bra Don who ensured Palestine was always at the forefront of his poetry. While we are liberated from an oppressive Apartheid regime, we still have a long road to tred until women in South Africa are truly free and equal. Our struggle now is against the many issues which plague women and South African society in general, such as the high rate of Gender Based Violence in the country, akin to a second pandemic. We are horrified at the events which occurred in Krugersdorp and call on our government to do more to ensure that lawlessness is curbed and women are safe in South Africa. Our comrades at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), a woman-led organisation mostly staffed by women, are currently facing threats to their safety. Government needs to ensure that cases like these are attended to and women feel safe to take up space and do the work that needs to be done in our society. Our fight against GBV and other maleficent forces, both in South Africa and in Palestine, is at the forefront of the work that we do. We will not rest until women in South Africa, Africa, and in Palestine are safe and equal. The work has just begun and while we have miles to go before we sleep, we will not tire or give up until we have achieved our shared vision of a free, just, safe, and equitable society for women and all, in South Africa and in Palestine, from Cape to Cairo, and from the River to the Sea. by Noor Ahmad
The historic role of women in Palestinian resistance movements
by a youth guest contributor
Womens history (source: Janna Jihad via Facebook)
Despite the numerous efforts of women in the Palestinian Liberation Movement being commonly overlooked, Palestinian women have continuously maintained an integral role within the resistance. While many historians tend to dismiss women's involvement in politics during the mandate period – in which the British Mandate for Palestine was passed – deeming them as politically unaware, Palestinian women had already established a functional movement through which they were actively involved in socio-political and national affairs.
Within the first decade after its formation, the Women’s Movement focused primarily on creating social transformation through redefining gender constructs, establishing relationships between male-led nationalist movements and the Women’s Movement, and reflecting on the role of the colonial government within Palestine. However, the official inauguration of the Palestinian Women’s Movement only occurred later as a response to calls from the Arab Executive that encouraged Palestinian citizens to resist and protest against the occupation of their land. Therefore, on 26 October 1929, Palestinian women launched the Women's movement, whose inaugural event was the convening of the Palestine Arab Women's Congress in Jerusalem. Over time, women steadily began to formally engage in politics by gaining membership within the Palestinian political divisions. Women defied traditional cultural norms that limited their public visibility, and many found freedom in political mobilisation and education.
While their primary concern regarding the struggle for the liberation of the people of Palestine was the organization of and participation in both mixed and segregated protest demonstrations, 1987 marked the beginning of a largely peaceful intifada in which men, women, and children alike collaboratively resisted the ongoing occupation of their land. During this period - alongside their participation in numerous mass protests - the Palestinian people, oftentimes with women at the forefront of these efforts, innovatively resisted oppressive Zionist forces by establishing alternate educational facilities and resources for the youth after their schools were shut down; and using the trade of home produce to foster an alternative economy.
By the early 1990s, a Palestinian Women’s Movement which is relatively independent of the Palestine Liberation Organization emerged in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Through this movement, Palestinian women deviated from the roles to which they were assigned by the national movement and emphasized the importance of women’s liberation over mere women’s involvement as was promoted by the national movement. In 1991, the United Nations Development Plan Women’s Task Force organized workshops in which they, alongside hundreds of Palestinian women, created the Women’s Agenda which functions as a strategic vision document advocating for Palestinian women’s empowerment. Since then, Palestinian feminist organizations have organized numerous seminars and conferences in which gender-based violence, the reproductive health and rights of women, women’s education, and even women's legal status and personal status code are openly discussed. Furthermore, they have continuously been actively involved in protests and demonstrations that fight to create a Palestine that is free and equal for all of its people.
It is important that we recognise the centrality of women to the Palestinian struggle for liberation and independence. Without their freedom, Palestine can never be free. We draw great inspiration from the boldness and bravery of all women, past and present, who have contributed to the fight for a free Palestine. They hold up our sky.
Tribute to legendary poet and anti-apartheid activist Don Mattera
Legend by Mems Moosa
Don Mattera (source: the bullrushes)
You knew you were in the presence of a poetic giant when listening and seeing Omaruddin “Don” Mattera. Fearless, brave and always yearning for freedom from colonial discrimination.
I was fortunate to be in the company of our "Shakespeare” whilst I taught at the Eldorado Park Secondary School. I invited him to the school to read his early written poems. Immediately he personified admirable qualities in his activism for all, especially the children and the oppressed. His metamorphosis life from crime, reverting to Islam, poetry writing, journalism, literature and political involvement mirrored his talk.
He shared his poetic power to highlight the horrors of the times we lived under. He defied all odds and used his words to mesmerise audiences whereever he read his poetic works. The people’s person, with his oratory skills, shook the conscience of all who were his audience. The acclaimed poet (except to the present government) moved his community to oppose the oppressive laws with his unique views. His life was difficult and he would only turn to those who knew him well. In addition, never would accept handouts of money.
From a street smart gangster – was shot, stabbed (showed scars) and escaped death a number of times, he went on to embrace Islam. This “sobered” him up and the rest is legacy. He paid severely for his dedication to a humanitarian cause. He was banned from 1973 to 1982. Despite his banning orders, he mobilised youth to join any just cause. His journey from the “coloured” Labour Party to the Black Conscious Movement and to Pan Africanism. He then became a member of PAC’s military wing Apla.
A man of his calibre went on to write stage plays and six books including his autobiography, “Memory is the Weapon,” novels and short stories. His resume read the following: he received honorary doctorates from Wits University, University of Natal and UNISA; a Pen Award for his “Azanian Love Song” – a book of poems; the Steve Biko Price for “Memory is the Weapon;” National Order of the Baobab in Gold and the Mazsi Kunene Award Poetry Award. Bra Don was one of the founding members of the Union of Black Journalists.
A sad feature of his life although some of his works is prescribed in the USA, none of his works is prescribed in any of our learning institutes to this day. In an effort to help to promote his early books, and earn a little income to survive, I coordinated this task to sell his works in Eldorado Park schools. In 2020, the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation was launched in Eldorado Park. This is to ensure his “legacy remains relevant, appreciate the immense sacrifice and contribution” he has made in the struggle to liberate South Africa.
He worked as a journalist for the “Star, Sowetan, City Press and Mail and Guardian” newspapers. He also mentored young journalists. For his beliefs, commitments and sacrifices and to be treated in a public hospital in his last few years of life because of his poor financial standing, the calibre of an acclaimed legend of Bra Don, not being given his due recognition by the present government, is a sad indictment of how artists are treated and not given their share of glory whilst alive.
Cry the beloved country for losing such a literary giant.
Befitting to his life from one of his poems…
“Remember to call at my grave,
When freedom finally Walks the land,
That I may rise
To tread the familiar
To see broken chains"
May Allah grant him Jannatul Firdoze
The on-going ethnic cleansing of Masafar Yatta
PSA inforgraphic on the evictions
Masafer Yatta is a region of thirteen villages in the South Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank. Over a thousand Palestinian residents in the region are threatened with forcible displacement, so that Israel can establish a military firing zone on their land. This marks yet another instance of ruthless ethnic cleansing by the colonial zionist regime.
Israeli courts greenlighted the ethnic cleansing of Masafer Yatta in May this year. At least eight villages will be demolished in order to establish “Firing Zone 918.” The community being displaced have been using Israeli courts to fight against their eviction since 1999, but there has been little doubt that Israel’s judiciary would conform to its apartheid ethos.
The community being displaced rely on the land for agricultural purposes, and have established a deep connection to its rolling hills, olive groves, and pastures. Spread across nineteen villages, most people gain their sustenance directly from the land. Many work as shepherds or farmers, in their attempt to assert an idyllic existence in the face of Israel’s brazen brutality.
The area has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967, and Israel imposes daily obstructions to their way of life and standard of living. Israel has deprived communities in Masafer Yatta of basic services like water and electricity. They have banned the building of roads and other network infrastructure.Israel regularly confiscates vehicles found in the region, and now they are escalating their violence by demolishing homes, caves, and other domestic resources in the area. Israel has made the beautiful hills of Masafer Yatta virtually unlivable, but the people of the area continue to fight to live there. They are stalwarts of defiance against Israeli apartheid.
The establishment of this military firing zone is unjust and unnecessary. It is an arrogant display of Israel’s power to terrorise and threaten Palestinian livelihoods, and it is part of the longterm zionist project to replace the Palestinian population with Jewish settlers. This has been corroborated by 1979 meeting minutes from the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division. The then-Agricultural Minister and later Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, was explicit, “The firing zones were created for one purpose: land reserves for settlements.”
Today, nearly one-fifth of the West Bank has been designated as a military firing zone. Only twenty-percent of these zones are used by the Israeli army for training. At least 205 000 acres of this land is used by Israeli settlers as ‘grazing outposts’, where gangs of settlers stake a claim to Palestinian land using severe violence against the indigenous Palestinian residents.
The case of Masafer Yatta is but a microcosm of the broader project to ethnically cleanse Palestine. The residents of Masafer Yatta will be forced off their land to join millions of Palestinian refugees who are still fighting to return to their homes. Their forcible displacement constitutes a gross violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime in terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Their forcible displacement is part of Israel’s system of oppression and domination against Palestinians, with discriminatory laws, restrictions on movement, and underdevelopment in Bantustan enclaves. It is part of Israeli apartheid.
Sameeha Huraini: an icon of bravery and resistance
Palestinian activist Sameeha Huraini
Sameeha Huraini is a Human Rights Defender and activist in Palestine. She has been active in campaigning against violent dispossession in the Masafer Yatta region and is outspoken against Israel’s barbaric system of colonialism, occupation, and apartheid. Huraini is a cofounder of the Youth of Sumud movement, who have been fighting against zionist ethnic cleansing since 2017. Sumud means "steadfastness" and is a Palestinian cultural value, ideological theme and political strategy that first emerged among the Palestinian people in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War. Youth of Sumud was formed in response to zionist aggression by settlers and the Israeli military against farmers, families, and schoolchildren. Its members have taken a bold stance to defy settler violence and push back against ethnic cleansing by reviving the village of Saurora.
Saurora was ethnically cleansed in the 1990s by violent settlers from the illegal zionist outpost of Havat Ma’On. Settlers terrorised the community and demolished ancient cave homes, causing victims to glee the village. Youth of Sumud have gone back to the village, rebuilt the caves, and established a permanent presence in Saurora.
Huraini, and the Youth of Sumud, boldly embody this steadfastness in their efforts to reclaim Palestinian heritage from the scourge of zionism. The group has assumed responsibility for the safety of their community, ensuring schoolchildren’s secure passage to and from school, and protecting Palestinian shepherds from violent Israeli settlers and soldiers. “As women who are on the front lines, watching our fathers, brothers, and sons being taken away to prison, or killed in the fields by settlers, we see how the Israeli colonial movement has traumatized generations of Palestinians.”
Sameeha Huraini knows that a woman’s place is in the revolution. She bravely personifies the passion, commitment, resistance, and zeal that Palestinian women are renowned for across the globe. We salute her courage and stand firmly behind her in her pursuit of freedom and justice in Palestine.
Gender, Justice, and Resistance
by Firoza Mayet
PSA Women's Month poster
Since the early twentieth century, Black women actively opposed the pass laws restricting the movement of Black people. The women understood that these laws would tear families apart, codifying where people could work and live and with whom.
The landmark protest of 1956 saw more then 20 000 women stand up against the oppressive apartheid government to initiate change. Even though August 9th, 1956 is a significant and an important milestone for women in South Africa, we cannot but look at the situation of majority of women across the country, across race and class, and acknowledge that the struggles from poverty, unemployment, gender based violence, inequality, unequal access to health, education and other basic rights continue.
Similarly, women in Palestine have actively resisted against the draconian laws instituted by Apartheid Israel. Like the South African Apartheid laws, the Nation State laws of Israel have the same objective of controlling, oppressing and subjugating Palestinians; where people live, who they interact with, movement between villagers, streets, across borders are all controlled and is at the discretion of the Israeli regime. Every aspect of Palestinian life is under the authority of an illegal state.
The various commissions, conferences, and memorandums handed over to government on Gender Based Violence and Gender inequality on economic, political and social levels, and the many regional and international instruments that governments have signed over the past decade, have yet to translate into positive changes in the daily lives of women. This is especially so for women on the African Continent and even more so for women in Occupied Palestine. In both Africa and Palestine, patriarchal structures and inequitable gender attitudes foster a culture of gender-based violence with impunity. Palestinian women face violence, threats, intimidation, restriction on movement, and discrimination from the illegal Occupying force on a daily basis. Israel's Apartheid policies which firmly violate international humanitarian and human rights law have a severe impact on women.
These human rights violations inflicted on Palestinian women by the State of Israel include, but are not limited to: Property destruction, demolition of housing, lack of adequate housing, aggression and vicious attacks both by the Defence force and the Illegal Settlers who continuously conduct night raids, destruction of crops, trees and infrastructure as well as forcibly transferring Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and in other Occupied territories in the West Bank to make room for the expansion of illegal settlements. We have all seen this escalation of ethnic cleansing in areas such as Sheik Jarrah and now in Masafer Yatta and many other Palestinian territories. We have seen the Women of Palestine leading the struggles to hold onto their homes, land and keep their families safe from the brutal and powerful Apartheid Israeli Regime. On the African continent women remain the most marginalized. Women remain at the bottom of the social hierarchy, with poor access to resources such as land, health, food security, education, jobs and social services. While some of the agreements that African governments have ratified enshrine property and inheritance rights, these have yet to be translated in the accrual empowerment of women.
The need to address gender based violence as a critical facet of women’s struggles for human rights, especially in those societies emerging from civil war and militarised environments, is an area that needs focused attention by all sectors of society. Gender based violence includes exposure to violence, the inability to negotiate safer sex, diminished ability to choose whether and when to have a child, and decreased access to economic, political, and social capital. The responses by Palestinian and African women to colonial domination, imperialism, apartheid, gender inequalities and gender-based violence has given impetus and direction to the shape and form of resistance. The power of women in resistance has forced change on many dimensions across society.
As the Palestine Solidarity Movement, we recognize the important role of women in resistance. Hence, under the theme “Gender, Justice and Resistance” we will embark on campaigns with organisations within the working class movement, civil society organisations, faith based organisations and all other progressive organisations to intensify the struggle against all forms of injustices and human rights violations globally.
Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East
by Miguel Chicane
Biden (Mandal Ngan AFP_GettyImages)
Joseph Robinnete Biden Jr, the 46th president of the United States of America, embarked on a historical journey in July 2022 as his AF1 landed in Tel Aviv on the 13th of July, beginning his first regional tour of the state of Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, domestic turmoil brewed back home. With Biden’s approval rating at an all-time low, he was a man on a mission, using this trip as a potential solution to his political problems.
Many had hoped the days of Donald J Trump had truly ended but these four days were merely a continuation of the United States longstanding allegiance to Israel at the expense of the dignity and freedom of the Palestinian people. “I am proud to say that US relations with Israel are deeper and stronger than they have ever been’’, Biden said. Biden’s visit was one stained with hypocrisy. After preaching about accountability and human rights throughout his election campaign, he immediately backtracked on promises. As soon as Biden landed, he seemed to have wiped off his makeup and taken off his fur coat, exposing where he stands. Biden displayed a colonial arrogance and inability to show sympathy with the Palestinian people when he silenced the cries of medical professionals at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. His pro-Israel stance was further displayed by his refusal to even mention the names of Shireen Abu Akleh and Jamal Khashoggi. After praising an apartheid state, Biden met with MBS, a man he once called a pariah, as he begged for more oil.
Biden’s push for normalization comes at a time whereby Israel and Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations have been met with impunity. From the targeted killing of journalists such as Al-Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh and The Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi, to atrocities in Palestine and Yemen – these countries have faced no penalty. Yet because Biden was desperate for oil, the same man that claimed he would ‘punish the Saudi Leader and make them the pariah that they are’, ran back with his tail between his legs to MBS for a way to push up his ratings. For many American politicians, social redemption is calculated in oil. The same man that claims we should ‘stand for human rights’ made an exception for his ally as he calls for the normalization of Apartheid.
Biden does not seem to understand that a monetary pledge of a hundred million dollars to hospitals in East Jerusalem will not assure Palestinian people that change is near. His gesture was chicken-feed. It pales in comparison to the 3.8 billion USD that the United States gives the Israeli state annually in military aid. The United States, under Joe Biden, continues to actively arm a genocidal, apartheid army. This is the same army that executed Palestinian American Journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh for doing her job.
The Biden administration seemingly forgot what accountability means after the elections campaign race ended. If it is profitable, they will gladly suck up to pariahs and war criminals. The hypocrisy of the United States shines brightly through the velvet cloth that holds the blood of those who live under occupation, and those who live under a constant state of vigilance, not knowing if the smell of phosphorus and rubble will soon hit their nose. Once again, the United States has shown its disregard for human life, at home and abroad. After 74 years, “isn’t it not the time for this occupation to end and for the steadfast people again to gain their freedom and independence?” said Mahmoud Abbas during his 1-hour meeting with Biden.
Biden’s visit to the Middle East was clearly nothing but a check-up on a nation he sees as a US military base to ensure the stability of the empire, before going to the ‘’pariah state’’ to beg for oil and the normalization of Apartheid. Bidens visit strengthens the legacy of an empire built on the blood of slave labor. As the United States crumbles from within, the fight for unilateral dominance abroad prevails. It prevails at the expense of the dignity and freedoms of the people. At home and abroad.
Passing of struggle stalwart and anti-Apartheid activist comrade Jessie Duarte
Jessie Duarte (source: Afro-Palestine Forum)
As the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, we are deeply saddened at the news of the passing of comrade Yasmin “Jessie” Duarte, who joined the ranks of the Marhoom on the 17th of July. As a Palestine solidarity organization, we join our comrades in South Africa and in Palestine, in mourning the loss of the fierce progressive force for the people which Comrade Duarte was.
At the time of her passing, comrade Jessie was serving as the Deputy Secretary General for the African National Congress (ANC), a party in which she played an essential role in. She worked in tandem with the likes of struggle stalwarts Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Reverend Beyers Naudé, and Walter Sisulu. She was instrumental in setting up women’s structures across the country during the liberation struggle, after being recruited by Albertina Sisulu, pushing for women’s rights across South Africa just as she pushed for solidarity with our comrades in Palestine.
Comrade Jessie was as deeply committed to the anti-Apartheid struggle in Palestine as she was in South Africa, being central in pushing South Africa’s ruling party to commit to the cause of the Palestinian people and bolstering solidarity on the ground in South Africa by working with Palestine solidarity organisations. In 2020, while addressing the United Nations, she joined hundreds of organisations and people across the global south in solidarity with Palestine and called for the UN to have a resolution which would investigate Israel’s apartheid and would impose lawful targeted sanctions to end this apartheid, as was done during apartheid in South Africa. She believed that it was important for the UN to consider beyond the historic, political, and religious and see the struggle of the Palestinian people for the human rights issue it is and, on this basis, ensure that the people who reserve the rights to their land, to be free, to choose the system of government which they wish, and to self-determinate do so. She called on the UN to make the right decision and ensure that Apartheid in Israel is ended just as it was in South Africa.
Comrade Jessie radiated warmth and beauty wherever she was. We can only imagine the pain that her loss brings to those who held her dearest. Our hearts go out to her close friends, comrades, and family. As the PSA, we reiterate her call and recommit ourselves in ensuring that the calls made by our comrade and ally are heeded.
Hamba Kahle comrade.
Song for Palestine by Don Mattera
Bra Don at a PSA Walk For Freedom event
Palestine, O Palestine
land of miracles wondrous,
of idols stern and ancient
a plundered place of plenty
of scourged, purged prophets,
and histories of blood, battery and bondage.
Today, when the feet and hands of Africa
are still bound by ethnic enmity,
and most states enjoy sovereignity
and belong to the global family
but you, beutiful, beloved Palestine
are orphaned by the tyranny of Israel
and their Martian masters.
Africa sings from its deep heart
Africa, that witnessed the first outbreak of creation,
the same Africa
that gave succour and sanctuary
to the Chosen Messengers of the Book
Lo, the stars dance over Jerusalem,
a mesmerising moon swoons in Gaza
as children challenge chicanery
with slings and stones,
torn flesh, bruised brows and broken bones.
Palestine, O Palestine,
Your hour is come…
Besieged, beleagured Palestine,
not here, are we to decry
your solemn, dynamite reapers
the ultimate harvest of their sacrifice,
nor say what anthems
may speak or measure the devastation
by an unheeding, unfeeling world.
Even this frail poetic fragment
cannot assuage your loss
nor renew the lost days and broken nights
but did not our caring breath
keep fresh the flowers of your affliction,
and memory, write the scroll
of your patience and conviction.
We know the remembered carnage
sucks deep the soul of Palestine,
that the yearning for nationhood
should be made a mockery
and your cause, a compromise
when so much was given by you
yet so little gained.
daughters and sons
of beautiful, beloved Palestine,
is for you,
sung from the deepest soul of Africa…
Activist Profile: Firoza Mayet
Firoza Mayet at the PSA Political Prisoners event
There is hardly a person in the South African Palestine Solidarity Movement who is not acquainted with Firoza Mayet. That statement can easily be extended to many other progressive movements in the country. Firoza is a seasoned, ardent activist who has struggled for human rights and dignity wherever it is lacking.
Her activism and leadership is a driving force behind the PSA’s growth, progress, and relationships. Her acute awareness of the indivisibility of justice has entrenched the Palestinian cause in the labour movement, faith-based organisations, climate justice movement, and the gender struggle. Across the country, progressive organisations are united in support of Palestine, thanks to her tireless commitment to nurturing solidarity, connectedness, and ensuring that no person’s struggle is left behind.
Comrade Firoza cut her teeth in the anti-apartheid struggle while growing up in Lenasia. Her dialectical experience of apartheid violence and resistance impressed a deep-seated commitment to justice from a young age. The seeds that birthed the formation of the United Democratic Front were planted in her parents’ backyard, and its soil still nurtures ideas for broader solidarity, deeper networks, and a freer future.
Firoza will be the first to testify that our work is far from over and that we should be wary of bestowing accolades while injustice is still so pervasive. This is perhaps what inspires her unmatched sincerity, passion, and steadfastness in struggle. We are immensely proud to have an activist of Firoza Mayet’s callibre in the PSA, and take courage and inspiration from her daily.
There are few better examples of people who fully embody the fighting spirit that inspires the phrase “Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo,” and for this, we salute her.
Apartheid Free Zones
Principled vs Strategic Boycotts
Targeted vs Non-targeted boycotts (source: bdsmovement.net)
Apartheid Free Zones (AFZ) is a principled campaign to cut links of complicity with Israeli apartheid. The campaign draws inspiration from the international anti-apartheid movement for South Africa and aims to replicate such solidarity with Palestinians. The idea is to create spaces of proactive solidarity across the world. As people of conscience, we want to ensure that the spaces that we participate in do not contribute to the maintenance of an apartheid regime or profit from grave human rights violations. We urge all people in South Africa to make your home an Apartheid Free Zone. You can do this by boycotting companies which support Apartheid Israel or are supporters of Israel and its enterprises.
As BDS activists, we often get asked - do boycotts actually work? How do they work, and why is it important?
Many people struggle to fathom how one group’s actions can make a difference to an entire state. People also wonder whether ethical boycotts are even possible. There are so many companies that have links to Israel in some way or another. If we boycotted every single one of them, there would be hardly anything left to buy. These questions may sometimes seem disingenuous and many people simply use them to assuage their consciences or put down a cause. But there are good answers to these questions that can convince these people to support BDS.
Firstly, Yes! Boycotts work. They worked in South Africa and they are working in Palestine. Several companies, including G4S, Veiola, and Eibit systems have lost billions of dollars due to BDS pressure against Israel. Thousands of academics have cut ties with Israeli institutions, and thousands of artists support a cultural boycott of Israel. The financial impact has been immense, and the moral impact even more so. This is why Israel commits billions of shekels to Hasbara campaigns that defame and attack BDS.
A second important thing to understand is the importance between principled boycotts and strategic boycotts. Principled boycotts are boycotts made by consumers who do not want to support certain brands, products, or companies. These kinds of boycotts can exclude hundreds of products and aim to influence consumers to be mindful of the products they consume. Many products listed under the Apartheid-Free Zone campaign will fall part of a principled boycott. Their success lies more often in garnering awareness for a cause, rather than in making a direct economic impact against a company.
Strategic boycotts, on the other hand, are targeted consumer campaigns against a small number of companies. These companies are selected because campaigners perceive that the boycott can make a veritable impact on their bottom-line and on their decision to conduct their business in a particular manner.
The global BDS movement advocates for the use of strategic consumer boycotts against Israel. Their boycotts focus on a small number of companies for maximum impact. Currently, global campaigns are being conducted against seven brands only. These are: Israeli fruits and vegetables, Axa, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Puma, Sodastream, Ahava, and Sabra hummus.
This of course does not mean that we should support other companies that support Israeli occupation. It just means that these are the most crucial and important brands to boycott at the moment.
This Women's Month, we will be focusing on the theme of Gender, Justice, and Resistance. We have a few events planned and suggest you follow us on our social media and keep an eye out on our website for the details of these events.
We have also partnered with SalaaMedia and will be talking about all things Palestine during our weekly radio segment on Tuesdays at 7:30pm. Tune in to hear our guest of the evening talk to Moulana Luqmaan about Palestine and its intersection with South Africa. Livestream of the programme can be found on Youtube and their website or on the PSA website under 'Podcast'.
Over the course of the next few months, we will be launching our next few campaigns which will form the focus point for us for the rest of the year. These campaigns will include education and training workshops, media and writing workshops, anti-war and political prisoners solidarity campaign, and art and poetry showcases. In the month of September, PSA will be focusing on our annual Walk For Freedom (WFF) events across the country during which we wish for all community members and activists to join us in marching and raising their banners of the causes they advocating for; may it be climate justice and a just transition, menstrual rights, workers rights, or anti-xenophobia. Our struggles are intersectional and we want to create interconnected spaces where we can work together towards our common goal of an equitable and just world for all, devoid of racism, discrimination, Apartheid or xenophobia.
To stay up-to-date with our dates and venues for the Walk For Freedom, reach us via email, on social media, or keep an eye on our website. We will also be focusing on highlighting the plight of Palestinian Political Prisoners and the role of BDS in the fight for liberation, along with exploring culture, art and poetry in resistance. If you would like to be involved in any of these, reach out to us via email or fill out our volunteer form. We look forward to engaging with you!
Donate to PSA and help us continue the work that we are doing!
If you are a supporter of a free Palestine but do not have the capacity to be actively involved in the liberation movement, you can still help and support us by donating towards our efforts. Our banking details are:
Account Name: Palestinian Solidarity Alliance
Account No: 4070101666
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Our month in pictures
PSA and the PSA YL attended the Defend Our Democracy conference and engaged in the conversation around how we can strengthen our democracy and the role that the Youth play in holding government accountable
Ahmed Kathrade Foundation Youth Programme youth club organiser Obakeng Kgatshe
Our struggles are intersectional! PSA at the Climate Justice Coalition march held outside the DMRE and Union Buildings in Pretoria