Shocked by the recent 60 day long conflict in the Gaza Strip in which more than 2000 innocent Palestinian civilians were killed, students at the Stellenbosch University have mobilized to establish a new society in campus, called the Palestinian Solidarity Stellenbosch (PSS). The newly formed group will seek to raise awareness amongst students towards the troubled situation in the occupied territories.
PSS founder and head, Stephanie-Lee Du Plooy, said she was motivated to do her bit to assist those affected in Palestine, after seeing the public outcry in light of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. However, due to a lack any of any solidarity group operating at the university, she was motivated to establish one herself.
“There were a lot of other students that felt that they wanted to join an international movement, and do something constructive. So I decided that it was time we institutionalized a Palestine solidarity group at the Stellenbosch University,” she explained.
Since its launch, the PSS has attracted an overwhelming response from students, although opinions have varied. Although there were a number of students who were informed towards what was transpiring in Palestine and were eager to get involved, many were still ignorant and oblivious to the situation.
“There a few active students on campus, but we just have to institutionalize this movement and get it out there to those students that are a bit apathetic,” she said.
Despite its reputation as a university with a strong an ever-present Afrikaner history, many of whom have leaned toward the Israeli cause, Du Plooy said they had not faced any outright backlash towards the formation of the PSS. However, she admitted they had seen a small form of resistance from certain Christian Afrikaner movements within the campus.
Having already run a number of awareness campaigns over the past few weeks, Du Plooy said they were slowly becoming aware that there was an urgent need to raise monies to help fund any future projects. She appealed on community members to make donations towards they cause.
“We realize now with the campaigning that we are doing, we need funds. For next year we would like to be prepared with a substantial amount, so that we can be successful,” she said.
If you would like to contribute towards the PSS, you can contact them via email at PSS.email@example.com. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)