Nelson Mandela's Grandson Urges Action at Global Palestine Solidarity Convention in Johannesburg
11:40 04.12.2023 (Updated: 13:21 04.12.2023)
The 5th Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine, taking place in Johannesburg from December 3-5, aims to pay profound tribute to the late President Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, who is also known for his unwavering support for Palestine.
Mandla Mandela, Tribal Chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council of South Africa and grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela,
delivered a powerful speech at the 5th Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine in Johannesburg, reaffirming the event's commitment to advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people.
The three-day gathering, themed "Nelson Mandela and Palestine: Confronting Racism to Liberation," honors Mandela's legacy while highlighting the ongoing challenges facing the Palestinian people.
Mandela's grandson emphasized his unwavering support for Palestine's struggle against "oppression and racism", and stressed the need to liberate the region from the clutches of "imperialism and occupation".
In particular, Mandela called on South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa to be more supportive
of the Palestinian cause and to reject Israel's imposition of "apartheid" in a resounding call for solidarity and freedom.
"We want to call on his excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa to abandon the thoughts of Bantu stance to Palestine, abandon separate development, racism and apartheid in occupying Palestine," the tribal chief said. "Palestine shall be free from the river to the sea."
The 5th Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine, organized by the Royal House of South Africa and the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine
, drew a wide array of attendees, including representatives from diverse religious, political, and humanitarian backgrounds. A high-level Hamas delegation was also reported by local media to have attended the Johannesburg event.
In a broader context, the conference comes against a backdrop of escalating violence and civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, as well as rising international tensions related to the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine.
On November 21, the South African Parliament voted in favor of a motion calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy
in Pretoria and the suspension of diplomatic relations as tensions between the two countries escalate over the Israeli attack on Gaza. This followed the withdrawal of all South African diplomats in Tel Aviv earlier this month.
Pretoria is also seeking legal action in international forums such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice to declare Israel an apartheid state, according to the African country's foreign ministry. In response, Tel Aviv recalled its ambassador
from South Africa for consultations, citing recent statements in the African country.
On October 7, Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip and breached the border. The movement said its operation, dubbed Al-Aqsa Flood, was in response to "Israeli provocations and occupation of Palestinian territories".
Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million people, cutting off supplies of water, food and fuel. On October 27, Israel launched a large-scale ground incursion into Gaza, ostensibly to eliminate Hamas fighters and rescue hostages.
Last week, Qatar brokered a deal between Israel and Hamas for a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The truce was extended several times, but on Friday, the Israeli military resumed fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, saying the group had violated the humanitarian pause by opening fire on Israeli territory.
As the conflict enters its 58th day
, more than 15,500 civilians, mostly children and women, have been killed and over 41,000 others injured in the Gaza Strip since Israeli troops began bombing the area, according to local authorities.