Crowds are growing outside Grand West in Goodwood as pro-Palestinian supporters gather to show their displeasure at US musician, Pharrell Williams and his collaboration with retail outlet Woolworths. The protest is organised by BDS SA and is expected to draw numbers well into the thousands.
As the protest ensued on Monday afternoon, thousands of supporters donned their Palestinian colours in solidarity with BDS South Africa’s global #BoycottWoolworths campaign. BDS SA spokesperson Kwara Kekana called out Woolworth’s efforts to give back in the community as “nonsensical”, saying they are essentially supporting the Israeli occupation.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,” Kekana yelled as she stood with her fist in the air, the symbolic hand gesture for freedom and unity.
IPSA academic Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi says during Apartheid, the international community stood in solidarity with Madiba adding Palestine needs the same support.
“If it was not for the support from the people of the world, we wouldn’t be free today. As south Africans, who know the effects of apartheid, we cannot entertain it anywhere else in the world,” Owaisi told supporters.
“We are not here against the Jewish people, we are here in unity against injustices and freedom from Apartheid. The Israeli occupation has been oppressing the Jewish people too. Madiba’s fight lasted for over 27 years and we will not give up,” Owaisi added.
Palestine Solidarity Coalition (PSC) spokesperson Terry Crawford Browne criticised the City of Cape Town for its attempts to restrict the protest to a small number of 150 people. The City was taken to court and successfully challenged, when Judge Siraj Desai ordered that 16 000 people could protest.
“The City Council tried to stop us from gathering here today and failed miserably. Sanctions are unconstitutional,” Crawford-Brown told the crowd.
“We are gatvol with corrupt politicians. Patricia De Lille have you sold your soul to Woolies?” he continued.
“Israel is a gangster state…the tide is turning, people are no longer afraid. The international community is standing up… Pharrell should be ashamed!”
Stay tuned to VOC for regular updates from the ground. All pictures are taken from Twitter