By Ra-ees Moerat
The Embassy of Palestine in South Africa, in a joint effort with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in Cape Town this week hosted the Palestinian Cultural Festival. The festival commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian peoples.
The festival had a special screening of the Sundance Directors and Emmy Award winning Palestinian documentary film, 5 Broken Cameras, directed by Palestinian filmmaker, Emad Burnat and Israeli director, Guy Davidi.
The storyteller of the documentary, Burnat says the footage that he recorded in his home in Palestine was rather hard for him to review. However, he decided to use the footage for the greater good.
“It was a hard decision for me to include this footage, but in the end, we needed the footage to fit the film so we used it,” he says.
Palestine’s first secretary to South Africa, Hassona Adramry, acknowledged the PSA in their attempt to attend an international youth camp in Occupied Palestine, after which the group leader of the South African youth delegation, Altaaf Adam, and four other members of the delegation were denied access by Israel into the country and was deported back to South Africa.
“Israel invited youth from all over the world, but when our South African comrades try to attend any event in Israel, they deny it, because they fear that South Africans will discover the truth of the conditions in Palestine,” he added.He also detailed the living conditions within Occupied Palestinian Territory and how the Palestinian people draws hope from South Africa, as a result of the history of the country.
“The Palestinians are living under the Apartheid regime: discrimination, segregation, settlements, checkpoints and undrinkable water. In South Africa, we can find the hope that we are looking for. We can draw our strength and courage from them [South Africans],” he says.
Chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and the grandson of the late Nelson Mandela , Mandla Mandela was present at the screening.
“Palestine and South Africa’s relationship dates back to the liberation struggle of the country [SA]. After my grandfather, Nelson Mandela was released from prison; he visited Palestine, together with Yasser Arafat and told the people of Palestine that South Africa’s freedom is not complete until the people of Palestine is free,” he says.
Mandla detailed the history and relation between Occupied Palestinian Territory and South Africa , while touching on Nelson Mandela’s activism in advocating for the freedom of Palestinians.He also ensured the public that the ANC has always – and will continue – to support the cause of the Palestinians.
“The ANC has unapologetically expressed their support for the Palestinians. We proudly stand against the gross human rights violation that’s being expressed on the Palestinians, particularly towards women and children,” he adds.
Mandla reflects on the historic march for Palestine that took place in Cape Town, in 2014:
“It was for me, a very emotional experience, partaking in the march. It was by far one of the most colourful and most peaceful marches that we have seen in the streets of Cape Town. We anticipated a crowd of about 100 000, but there have been reports of close to 200 000 people who attended,” he says.
Mandla says that it is unfortunate, with the challenges faced by South African parliament that it took two years to action the petition that was presented during that particular march. VOC