Rebranding was necessary in order to strengthen African-Palestinian relations and pushing back against Israel’s creeping infiltration into our continent, writes an Al-Qalam Reporter.
The South African human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation, BDS South Africa, has decided to rebrand itself and will from now on be called Africa for Palestine (AFP).
The powerful lobby group recently moved to plush offices in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. It was officially opened by the city’s mayor.
National Director of Africa for Palestine (AFP), Muhammed Desai, said after “an incredible decade of BDS victories in South Africa” it was decided to rebrand and broaden its footprint across the continent.
“In the last decade we, with the support of our partners and community, held hundreds of successful campaigns, events, activities and engagements across South Africa. Israel’s Haaretz Newspaper had once reported that: “BDS has arguably been more effective in South Africa than anywhere else in the world“.
Desai said: “In addition to our work in South Africa, last year, we undertook several exploratory visits to Southern African countries where we engaged trade unions, churches, mosques, political parties and both former and current leaders including, the former President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda. In the course of these visits, we became acutely aware of the need for Palestine solidarity work to expand into the African continent.
“By recently becoming fully independent and autonomous from the BNC (with whom we started cooperation with two years after our formation), we have, after a careful review of BDS South Africa’s track record of the past decade and an analysis of the local, continental and international political situation, now resolved to seize the opportunity to expand our scope, deepen our solidarity work, rebrand and broaden our focus beyond only the tactic of boycotts and sanctions. To this end, “Africa for Palestine” will seek to build alliances and partnerships across the continent, reinforce direct support to Palestine and assist the Palestinian Diaspora.
“Our governance structure, staff, internships, volunteer base and partnerships with Trade Unions, Student formations, religious and political organizations are all unaffected and we will work on deepening all of these.
“We will be operating from our new office in Parkhurst maintaining our work in South Africa but will now also, in line with our broadened mandate, actively forge relations beyond our country with other solidarity groups, trade unions, political formations, and human rights organizations on the African continent.
“Our focus will now include strengthening African – Palestinian relations and pushing back against Israel’s creeping infiltration into our continent. Africa for Palestine (AFP), in the spirit of progressive internationalism, will proactively partner and work with organisations who stand with other oppressed peoples of the world.
BDS SA, thanked its allies, partners and supporters for their support through this past decade of struggle for Palestinian freedom.
“We are committed to walking with our supporters and allies as we break new ground in continuing this journey. This is but a next phase in the struggle for freedom, justice and peace in Palestine and elsewhere. BDS South Africa (BDS SA) will henceforth function as Africa for Palestine (AFP),” Desai added.