By Al Qalam Reporter
For 18 teenagers from Gaza who arrived in Cape Town to play soccer with local teams, this is their first taste of freedom – until they return home – said be the world’s largest open air prison that is blockaded by Israel.
South African activist group, Shamsaan 2 Suns said in a statement: “Travel out of Gaza, known as the world’s largest open-air prison, is truly a dream come true and hugely exciting for the boys. The wounds of war don’t end after the bombs are dropped and guns have stopped blazing. There’s been no end to the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children living in Gaza. Families and communities remain torn apart by loss and the struggle to restore all that is repeatedly destroyed and lost to the on-going attacks that surround their existence.”
But while here, the 18-member Khan Younis team is reveling in their freedom, playing soccer, visiting the beautiful sights of Cape Town and being hosted by local families.
One administrator of the team, Dr Saeed Alnamrut said boys are making the most of their time in South Africa.
“They are very, very excited. It is their first time coming out of the country. They are excited and well-trained. We hope they will spend a very fruitful and enjoyable time here in Cape Town.”
The Royal House of Mandela, Mvezo Komkhulu, described their arrival as a symbol of South Africa’s love and commitment to the just struggle of the Palestinian people and of the unification sport can bring.
“They are here to not only enjoy the game of football and participate in the Bayhill Premier Cup. Their presence here reminds us that our struggle is far from over and that we must continue to seek ways and means to fulfill Madiba’s words uttered on his visit to Gaza in 1995 that “our freedom is yet incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people.”
The house called on the community to come out in support “so that they may take a powerful message back to Gaza and the entire occupied Palestine: South Africa is your second home and that ordinary South Africans the children and grandchildren of President Nelson Mandela will stand side by side with you until Palestine is free!”