Source: Global Information Network. - Photo: 2024

Pro-Palestine Encampments in Africa Join Global Student Movement

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 21 May 2024 (IDN) — South African students at the University of Cape Town are setting up encampments in solidarity with the people of Palestine, joining a global movement led by students around the world and joined by academic and other staff.

They’re calling for their institutions to be transparent about their links to Israel and to divest and cut ties with Israel or Israeli-linked institutions.

Cape Town University (UCT) students form part of the wider UCT4Palestine coalition. The encampment has grown to around 10 tents on the upper campus.

UCT law student and UCT4Palestine member Roomaan Leach said the action was to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Nakba also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe. It refers to the mass displacement and eviction of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

“We are aiming to educate, mourn, conscientize, rage, all at once … We will also be discussing how we would like to see the transformation of UCT in the upcoming semester,” Leach said.

#Africa4Palestine is a human rights organization lending solidarity and support to the Palestine people living under Israeli occupation. The organization was formerly known as BDS South Africa, established in 2009. However, in 2020, BDS after consultation with its partners, rebranded and broadened its mandate to become #Africa4Palestine.

The team has seven board members including Prof. Farid Esack, a South African Muslim liberation theologian in the Dept of Religious Studies at the University of Johannesburg, and Duduzile Mahlangu-Masango who worked for the South African Council of Churches at its Justice and Reconciliation Desk and was project coordinator of an HIV / AIDS initiative of the Lutheran Church working on the acceptance of HIV positive people.

Israel-Palestine program at the World Council of Churches

She is currently the South African coordinator of the Israel-Palestine program at the World Council of Churches.

This week, dozens of students at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg set up camps in solidarity with Palestinians on the main campus library lawn.

Students waving Palestinian flags and carrying placards called for a cease-fire and an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories as they marched to the university senate, where officials were holding a meeting.

Imaan Mathee told a reporter: “We were inspired by the mobilization of US universities, but I would say that our encampment is more peaceful because we recognize that our stance reflects the stance taken by our government.”

Mathee vowed that the encampment would continue until the student demands are met. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo source: Global Information Network.

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