Solidarity demonstrations with Palestinians held in Joburg and Cape Town

“We also faced a very oppressive apartheid regime” says protester

By Matthew Hirsch, Ihsaan Haffejee and Ashraf Hendricks

29 November 2023

Demonstrators in Johannesburg on Wednesday called for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

Over 1,000 people gathered in Johannesburg’s Mary Fitzgerald Square to commemorate The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Wednesday.

The demonstrators called for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Trade unions, civil society organisations, Palestinian solidarity organisations and some political parties, including the ANC, EFF and AZAPO, participated.

Protesters made their way through the streets of Johannesburg, held a sit-in on Nelson Mandela bridge, before ending the march at the Constitutional Court.

Protesters waving Palestinian flags make their way over the Nelson Mandela bridge in Johannesburg. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

Peter Monethe, one of the protesters, said, “We also faced a very oppressive apartheid regime here in South Africa and we experienced many dark days but we managed to defeat that system. We are always on the side of the Palestinians because we know what oppression looks like and we won’t rest till the Palestinians are free.”

The watermelon has become a symbol of Palestinian solidarity. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

Meanwhile there were several events in Cape Town, including a picket with about 50 people in Blikkiesdorp in Delft. They chanted “Free Palestine” as well as “Free Blikkiesdorp”.

Blikkiesdorp was established in 2008 about 30km from central Cape Town and was supposed to be a temporary relocation area.

“We are in solidarity not just with the people of Palestine but with the people of Blikkiesdorp,” said Kashiefa Achmat of the Housing Assembly and one of the organisers of the picket.

“As a mother, as a woman, as a grandmother you feel for those women, you feel for those families.”

At a picket in Blikkiesdorp in Delft about 50 people chanted “Free Palestine” and “Free Blikkiesdorp”. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) published a statement, saying: “We recognise our political, moral and, most importantly, human responsibility to stand in solidarity with Palestine, and with oppressed people everywhere. Our struggles are entirely interconnected and interdependent.”

“Both the residents of Blikkiesdorp and Gaza deserve to be treated with dignity, enjoy freedom, and have access to basic human rights.”

Along with the picket in Blikkiesdorp, there was a vigil at St George’s Cathedral and a picket in Salt River.

A very South African placard. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee