PRC Hosts Panel Discussion on Anti-Apartheid Solidarity

PRC Hosts Panel Discussion on Anti-Apartheid Solidarity

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London hosted a panel discussion entitled “Anti-apartheid Solidarity: South Africa and Palestine”.

The panel of speakers includes Heidi Grunebaum, a member of South Africa's Stop the JNF campaign. Heidi is a Senior Researcher at the CHR where she works on the research theme, Aesthetics and Politics and with the Factory of the Arts. Grunebaum’s work focuses on social and aesthetic responses to the afterlives of genocide, war and mass violence and on the Holocaust, apartheid and the Palestine Nakba, in particular. Her research interests include Holocaust and genocide studies; critical memory studies; aesthetics and politics; comparative literary, film and narrative studies; postcolonial theory and public culture.

Also on the panel was Thula Simpson, Associate Professor of History in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria. A British scholar, he obtained his PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of the acclaimed Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle (Penguin, 2016), History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present (Penguin, 2021), and is the editor of The ANC and the Liberation Struggle: Essential Writings (Routledge, 2017), and, most recently, History beyond Apartheid: New Approaches in South African Historiography (Manchester University Press, 2023).

The final speaker was Prof Salim Vally, the Director for the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation and Chair in Community, Adult and Worker Education. He is also a visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He completed his doctorate at UKZN and studied at Wits and York universities. He was a visiting lecturer at the universities of York, Columbia, Virginia and Fort Hare. His scholarly interests include educational and social policy as they relate to human rights, democracy and socio-economic justice.

The esteemed panel speakers delved in depth into the connections and solidarity between South Africa and Palestine in their struggle against colonization and apartheid along with South Africa’s case on genocide at the International Court of Justice and the similarities between Apartheid South African regime and Israel.


The panel discussion also highlighted the similarities between Israel’s brutal siege on Gaza and the Apartheid regime in South Africa, denying civilians’ right to free movement and access to vital facilities. They referred to the genocide committed in the Gaza Strip as another instance of Israeli war crimes and ethnic cleansing scheme seeking to wipe out the Palestinians. By dehumanizing the Palestinians and using starvation as a weapon of war, Israel proves once again that its apartheid regime and brutality have no limits.

They further stressed how Nelson Mandela regularly raised the plight of the Palestinians. Three years after apartheid and white minority rule was dismantled in South Africa and Mandela was elected president in historic all-race elections in 1994, he thanked the international community for its help. He delivered his famous speech: “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” South Africans continue to support the Palestinian cause, and the country has taken the rare step of bringing a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice because of its war in Gaza.

The speakers urged the international community to work with progressive networks to pressure parliaments and governments to end all military cooperation and trade with apartheid Israel and similar regimes of oppression worldwide, to promote UN action to investigate and stop apartheid practices, as was done in South Africa, and to push for an urgent ceasefire and the prevention of further deaths and atrocities in the Gaza Strip.


The panel discussion is available here:

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