From Crisis to Activism: Palestine and the Awakening of South African Consciousness

In the face of relentless oppression, a powerful surge of solidarity emerges. From South Africa’s core, activism resounds, signaling an awakening. Week on week, communities organise, fueled by a common cause for Gaza. Artists defy with their creations, while our journalists see their peers risk everything for silenced voices. Youth, academics, and inter-faith alliances stand firm, demanding justice and accountability. Economic boycotts reverberate, challenging capitalism’s complicity in genocide and imperialism.

In this symphony of solidarity, South Africa’s political consciousness ignites.

Event Brief

Since October 2023, South Africa has witnessed a radical awakening of activism and organizing across various sectors in response to the ongoing crisis in Palestine. From artists forming collectives and engaging in radical art, to journalists swept by the martyrdom of their Palestinian counterparts; from youth organising for justice to academics and students advocating for the boycott of Israel: our communities demonstrate a (re)elevation of political consciousness South Africa has not witnessed for very long. This event brings together representatives from different sectors, including academia, journalism, arts and culture, youth, labour and inter-faith communities, to reflect on and celebrate the impact of this solidarity movement on their work. Join us as we harness this energy to reflect, sing, critique, celebrate and drive towards further solidarity. Towards Palestinian – and through it our collective – liberation.

Programme Overview

9:30Tea and Registration 
10:00-10:05Welcome and introduction of Citizen Commons partnershipGreg Ruiters, UWC School of Governance
10:05-10:10Overview of day and introduction of part one of the event.

Introduction to the event and speakers representing different sectors (inter-faith, arts, youth, academia, community organising, indigenous, journalism, economic and labour) giving short 5min introductions of how their area has been impacted and seen shifts in organising since October.  This takes place in a plenary format at UWC’s Senate Hall with poetic interventions and song dispersed between speakers. 
Mohammed Abdulla, Wadi Dyani and Ruth Wilson Gilmore
10:10-10:15Input on inter-faith organisingJulia Hope, Thandi Gamedze and Iman Omar
10:15-10:20Input on youth organisingEqual Education
10:20-10:25Input on academic boycottLeigh Ann Naidoo & representatives of UWC PSC
10:25-10:30Poetry interludeIman Omar
10:30-10:35Input on labourAbeedah Adams, GIWUSA
10:35-10:40Input on artsDean Hutton
10:40- 10:45Input on journalismAtiyyah Khan
10:45-10:50Input on indigenous solidarityTaariq Jenkins
Tea Break
11:00-12:30Introduction to Part Two of the event.

Each sector then separates into break away groups for up to an hour and a half.  These break away groups are facilitated by representatives of those who have been actively organising and engaging in solidarity work since October and are intended to be spaces of reflection/education/mobilisation/sharing/discussion/planning. Out of this we hope that some form of feedback/reporting in the form of a poster/collage/timeline/mindmap/social media piece/written piece can be shared with the larger group. 
Guest speakers from different sectors; Tshisimani staff; UWC organising team and UWC PSC volunteers.
13:30 –14:30 Opening of arts and cultural space

After lunch a cultural space will open up with artists sharing music, spoken word and viewing of art pieces from Palestinian artist Ashraf curated by a representative of Creative Knowledge Resources 
Creative Knowledge Resources, Jazz artists, poets
14:30Vote of thanks, closing and invitation to future eventsSiviwe Mdoda