The 11th International Apartheid Week (IAW) is set to kick off next week with the hopes of bringing further light to the oppression suffered by Palestinians at the hands of and under the Israeli Apartheid regime. The campaign seeks to raise awareness amongst those not yet in the know of the situation in the region, as well as garner support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
IAW is a worldwide initiative, held in over 250 cities throughout the world. In South Africa, the campaign is endorsed by roughly 75 different organizations.
Throughout the duration of the week, BDS affiliated organizations and groups, as well as ordinary South Africans involved in the Palestinian cause, are expected to host awareness events across the country. These range from protests, rallies, film screenings, workshops, as well as lectures.
Notable participating groups include both the main body and women’s league of the ANC, COSATU, the Media Review Network (MRN), as well as the MJC amongst many others. Also set to participate are several campus youth movements across the country, including those from the Muslim Student Association (MSA).
BDS SA itself has organized a range of events for the week ahead, largely focusing on the cultural side of the boycott. Amongst the scheduled events are free comedy shows at the Wits University (5th March) and the University of Cape Town (6th March) respectively. Similarly, they will also be hosting two free music concerts titled “Rhythms of Resistance”, featuring several prominent local artists.
“We will be having discussions on the night. IAW is to galvanize support for the growing global BDS movement, so there will be that as well,” explained BDS coordinator, Kwara Kekana.
IAW will also see the movement reignite its Boycott campaign against local retailer Woolworths, with a National Day of Action set for the 7th March. Kekana noted that at present, over 40 different actions were planned to take place outside Woolworth’s stores across the country.
“We are calling on all organizations to take to the picket lines, identify a Woolworths store near you, and then on the day of action let’s take the pickets to the stores and call on Woolworths to end its trade relations with Israel,” she urged.
The week’s events are to conclude on the 8th with a march through Sandton, Johannesburg, in protest of a planned Israeli expo set to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Kekana appealed to the community to not only come out to as many of the scheduled events as possible, but also get involved in an ‘aggressive’ social media campaign to raise awareness for the plight of the Palestinians, using the twitter hashtag, #IsraeliApartheidWeek.
For more information on IAW you may visit the BDS Facebook or Twitter accounts, or the Facebook page ‘iawsouthafrica’. Alternatively, you may visit the website www.iawsouthafrica.com. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)