01 March 2018

Tonight (Thursday 01 March 2018) at 18h00 members of the media and public are invited to a public discussion and poetry evening at Wits University (Graduate Seminar Room, East Campus) with visiting international journalist, poet and author, Dr Maytha Alhassen and celebrated South African poet Natalia Molebatsi. The topic for the event is “Malcolm X and Afro-Palestinian Solidarity” and will center around the iconic African-American leader, Malcolm X, and his support for Palestine.

The event is a build-up activity to this year’s 14th #IsraeliApartheidWeek campaign (12-18 March 2018). #IsraeliApartheidWeek, endorsed in South Africa by over 110 organizations, is an international series of self-organized rallies, protests, lectures, cultural performances, concerts, sports events, films and workshops held annually in over 250 cities, communities and campuses across the globe. With “Afro-Palestinian solidarity” as this year’s theme, #IsraeliApartheidWeek will focus on both Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinians as well as the regime’s discriminatory policies against Africans. The campaign will also highlight the African community in Palestine (click here) and will host events, such as this one on the 1st of March 2018, that celebrate the historic support and solidarity that African liberation struggles and countries received from the PLO and the Palestinian people during the 1970s and 1980s. Click here for more info on this year’s #IsraeliApartheidWeek.

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DR MAYTHA ALHASSEN: received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2004 and her master’s degree in anthropology from Columbia University in 2008. While at Columbia, Alhassen conducted research for the university’s Malcolm X Project. She has also recently completed her PhD at the University of Southern California. In 2015 Alhassen co-led a solidarity trip to Palestine with leaders from #BlackLivesMatter, and has been involved in initiatives, such as the Black4Palestine project, which strengthens Afro-Palestinian ties in the US and globally.

She has previously been a guest co-host on Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” and regularly appears as a guest on CNN, BET, Fusion, The Young Turks and Pivot. Alhassen has written for CNN, Mic, CounterPunch, La Vanguardia, academic journals and other online and print publications. In 2012, Alhassen co-edited the book “Demanding Dignity.” As both artist and organizer, Alhassen has performed and wrote thearter plays and worked with arts-based social justice organization Blackout Arts Collective. As a member of the collective, she facilitated creative literacy workshops with incarcerated youth at Rikers Island, assisted in organizing a Hip Hop Film Festival in the prison’s high school and wrote an introduction on the role of love in dismantling the prison industrial complex for an anthology of the youth’s poetry and visual art titled “One Mic.” Alhassen also established and designed the Social Justice Institute at Occidental College to train fellows in social justice praxis. Additionally, Alhassen teaches yoga to people & communities seeking healing and pens poems sub rosa.

NATALIA MOLEBATSI: has performed at universities and festivals in Palestine, Zimbabwe, Holland, Italy, Nigeria, Senegal, Germany, Arzerbaijan, Kenya, Argentina, England and South Africa (where she has been credited with having “been responsible for introducing the work of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison to the post-apartheid generation”). She is the editor of various collections of South African poems, the author of Sardo Dance (Geko, 2009) and is a founding member of the South African/Italian band Soul Making. Her work has appeared in academic literary journals and has been translated into several different languages. Molebatsi performed at the 2009 Women in Africa and the African Diaspora International Conference in Nigeria and in the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in London where she officially represented South Africa. She has also been responsible for the publication of numerous South African poets and short story writers through her position at the University of South Africa and as part of the South African Literary Awards.
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To arrange interviews with Dr Maytha Alhassen or Natalia Molebatsi kindly contact: 0769798801
 
ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA