At the opening plenary of the African National Congress’ (ANC) 3rd International Solidarity Conference (26-28 October), former Dutch anti-apartheid activist, Adri Nieuwhof, presented a statement on behalf of over 150 former international anti-apartheid activists to the ANC. The call has the support of signatories from more than 19 countries, belonging to over 35 organizations. It also has the backing of long-time international ANC supporters such as E.S. Reddy, Alice Walker, Victoria Brittain and Prexy Nesbitt.
The statement begins:
“We – former international anti-apartheid activists – supported the ANC and the people of South Africa in their fight for liberation and against apartheid by mobilizing support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the South African apartheid regime. We succeeded to put the crime of apartheid on the agenda of political parties, trade unions, churches…and concerned citizens. We called on people not to buy apartheid products and we discouraged tourism to the country. We campaigned for a weapons embargo, an oil embargo, a Krugerrand boycott, a sports, academic and cultaural boycott.”
The former international anti-apartheid activists then go on to express their “deep concern” regarding Israel’s ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people with “total impunity”.
The statement by the former international activists (who once mobilized in their countries for the isolation of Apartheid South Africa) specifically calls on the ANC (South Africa’s ruling party) to explicitly support the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign:
“On the occasion of the 3rd ANC International Solidarity Conference, we call on the ANC to support the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality…. We call on the ANC to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as expression of the party’s solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people to enjoy their rights.” Nieuwhof commented after presenting the statement on behalf of her international anti-apartheid counterparts: “We once galvanized world opinion against Apartheid South Africa, the time is to now galvanize world opinion against Apartheid Israel. I am confident that the ANC will heed our call.”
Signatories to the call include the former United Nations Centre Against Apartheid director, E.S. Reddy; Prexy Nesbitt of the World Council of Churches Program to Combat Racism; the acclaimed author and US civil rights activist, Alice Walker; Mireille Fanon, the daughter of Frantz Fanon and the current President of the Fanon Foundation; Victoria Brittain from the UK Anti-Apartheid Movement and Kate Gilford of the Mozambique Angola Guinea Bissau Information Committee.
BDS South Africa salutes the former international anti-apartheid activists who have made this call to the ANC and are encouraged by their consistency – they once supported the oppressed South African people, and now the oppressed Palestinians.
The ANC’s 3rd International Solidarity Conference is taking place this weekend in South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria/Tshwane, and will conclude on Sunday the 28th of October.