“We need to take a stand and lead the international community into showing support for Palestine and boycotting Israel”. This impassioned call by a teenager named Waseef summed up the public sentiment at the epic Gaza support march in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The mass march is considered one of the biggest protests to take place in Cape Town since the activists days of apartheid. Young, old, black and white, Muslims, Jews and Christians – people from all walks of life came out in their thousands donning the colours of the Palestinian flag and chanted songs for freedom in Palestine.
Waseef Daniels said the participation from so many people at the march was heart-warming. While he was too young to be actively involved in the resistance against the South African apartheid government, he said this action is a clear indication of the unity amongst South Africans especially during difficult times.
The protest action did not only garner the support from locals but foreigners too. An American student studying in Cape Town said this is the first time he has ever witnessed a protest of this nature in his life. Will Callison from Chicago Illinois said not even in his home country has he seen so many people stand together to see the liberation of others in a different part of the world.
“This is amazing. So many people have come out protest against the violation of human rights. I think this is really something that South Africans can be proud. I have joined in this action to stand with fellow human beings and march for a better world,” Will explained.
A marshal at the march, Moutie Abrahams, who ensured the safety of protesters as they made their way to Parliament spoke about the overwhelming atmosphere and how his passion for the Palestinian cause is being shared with thousands of others as they march.
“This is not the first time I am a marshall at a protest march but this is the first time I have seen so many people come out and show support for a cause. This is the biggest march I have seen for a good couple of years in Cape Town. With this march, I am hoping to see Palestine be liberated,” Moutie added.
A senior citizen known as Boeta Noor said he thanked the Almighty for having the opportunity to come out and join in a protest for Palestine. Boeta Noor explained that he would like to see Al Aqsa free of occupation and he hopes the killing of innocent Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military end.
Protesters walked together with placards and banners calling on the South African government to lead the international community in actively doing something that would see the end of the illegal occupation in Israel.
A young Mohamed Yusuf Adams said he was hoping to see a DA representative at the march as the cause is close to the hearts of many Capetonians.
“We don’t agree with the DA’s view of a two-state solution to the conflict in Palestine. We want them to come out and show their support. By taking no stance, they are agreeing to the oppression. How can they not stand up to the violations of human rights. We have come out of an apartheid regime, South Africans have first hand experience of the results of oppression.
I am disappointed in our local government. We now want the national government to stand up and stop entertaining Zionists,” Adams further added.
Many protesters said this march was just one of the many ways they will be actively part in supporting the plight of the Palestinian people. Suraya Petersen spoke to VOC News as she walked through the streets of the city centre and explained of how she and her family have taken a responsibility to boycott Israel by not purchasing any goods that is manufactured in the occupied territories of Palestine.
“We are not only talking about supporting Palestine but we are taking up the responsibility of seeing it through. Look at this beautiful sight of people protesting for the human rights of Palestinians to be upheld. Surely freedom and liberation will prevail,” Petersen said. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)