By Yaseen Kippie
An emotional atmosphere gripped the audience at Darul Islam High School hall on Thursday as learners were visited by a group of Palestinian children activists, who are visiting Cape Town as part of the Shamsaan Pals4Peace tour.
Learners from Darul Islam Primary and High Schools, as well as The Leadership College and Al-Azhar were taken aback by the struggle that Palestinian children endure on a daily basis in Palestine, and were motivated to raise awareness about the issue.
“It’s very important for the youth to know about the struggle that Palestinians, including many Palestinian youth, go through,” said Luqman Taliep of The Leadership College.
The importance of conscientising the youth about the plight of the Palestinians goes beyond religious or ethnic labels.
“Youth are trying to connect to us from Palestine. We, as youth in South Africa, should respond. They are our brothers and sisters in humanity, and if we had a similar struggle now or in the future, we would need help,” said learner Fatima Albertyn.
The delegation being welcomed by learners. [Source: Facebook]
TLC pupil Aqeela Allie also emphasised that the youth “are the future of the world”.
“If our youth are stronger, our future will be brighter,” she added.
Muzzamil Ahmad from Darul Islam High School said that the young generation needs to be educated about the history of Palestine.
“If they are not educated then who will know about the history in the future and who will take the stand to solve the problems? If we are educated know, then we can think of solutions to solve the problems in the future.”
He went on to say that the main realisation young people should have is that most of these issues are not simply about land or nationalism, but about dominance of one power over a weaker power.
11 year old Palestinian activist Janna Jihad, known as the world’s youngest journalist, graced the audience and emphasized her message that “education is key to avoid the youth being misguided”.
On Tuesday, the delegation took a trip to Table Mountain where they planted an olive tree, a symbol of growth, renewal, hope and peace. Palestinians often use the olive branch to represent their aspirations to attain peace with Zionist Israel. This olive tree overlooks the stunningly beautiful Atlantic ocean.
For the children, it was a rare opportunity to experience one of the seven natural wonders of the world, to see the Mother’s City majestic views and to be at peace with nature. The kids had time to soak in the sun, and enjoy to the fullest, the little bit of freedom they have in Cape Town.
The vibrant Palestinian activists asserting their continued struggle for liberation atop Table Mountain.
So much vibrance and energy exuded from this bunch! Young Palestinian activists asserting their continued struggle for liberation atop Table Mountain yesterday morning. @pals4peace #Palestine
Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Tuesday, 8 August 2017
“In Palestine, we cannot go to the sea because of the occupation. This is only the third time I have seen the sea in my whole life. It’s so great being on the top of the city and seeing all this history. It’s one of the best places in the world,” said an enthusiastic Janna Jihad.
On Tuesday evening, the children addressed a packed Islamia auditorium at the screening of their documentary film Radiance of Resistance. Here they were able to engage with Capetonians on their lived experiences under Israeli occupation.
On Women’s Day on Wednesday, the girls and their mothers were the special guests at the MJC Womens Forum breakfast, which aimed to honour inspirational Muslim women.
On Thursday afternoon, they spent time with activists from lobby group Equal Education in Khayelitsha for a discussion on the parallel struggles of Palestinian youth and black, underprivileged children in South Africa. Here the children were able to learn more about South Africa’s dark history of apartheid.
They then spent Thursday evening at Masjid Rawbie in Portlands Mitchells Plain for the weekly MJC Palestinian Thursday Rally, which was spiritually uplifting, but also informative for community members to understand the Palestinian conflict through the eyes of youth.
With the end of the Cape Town leg of their tour approaching, the delegation have been reinvigorated that South African Muslims, including the youth, are behind them and their struggle for the freedom of Palestine. VOC