Below find the speech by Chief Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, the grandson of South African icon Nelson Mandela, which he delivered at today’s over 5000 person Palestine solidarity protest in Cape Town. The protest, organized by the MJC and others, was against Israel’s siege on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and recent restriction on movement and religion as well as the Israeli regime’s increased violence against the Palestinians which have left four young Palestinians dead since last week. The protest called for the an end of diplomatic relations with Israel and the shutting down of the South African embassy in Tel Aviv.

Mandela said at today’s protest: “Today we raise our voices in protest because Apartheid Israel denies peace justice and dignity to the Palestinian people just as it has done since the day it was created. Today we raise our voice in protest because what Madiba described as ‘the greatest moral issue of our time’ has become ‘the greatest disgrace of our time’ as the world stands by in silence whilst Palestine bleeds.”

Chief Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela is the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council. In 2007 as the tribe looked to Nelson Mandela to reclaim his clan, he suggested his grandson assume the role. When the younger Mandela became chief, he was only 32 years old. Mandela is also a South African parliamentarian for South Africa’s governing African National Congress.

Brothers and sisters,
Mothers and Elders,
Fathers and young people.

Today we raise our voices in protest because Apartheid Israel denies peace justice and dignity to the Palestinian people just as it has done since the day it was created.

Today we raise our voice in protest because what Madiba described as “the greatest moral issue of our time” has become “the greatest disgrace of our time” as the world stands by in silence whilst Palestine bleeds.

Today we say to the Zionist State of Israel. Your oppression brutality and cruelty will not deter us nor the brave Palestinian people from fighting for freedom.

Today we say Hands off Al Aqsa….Hands off Al Aqsa…hands off Al Aqsa!

Today we say to our South African government expel the Israeli Ambassador and cut all ties with Israel.

We demand that all ties be cut with Israel. …no trade ties no cultural ties and no travel!

We demand that Israel complies with International law and demand the return of 6 million Palestinian refugees driven from the land of their birth

We demand that all occupied land be returned and we condemn the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palistinian land.

Today we call on the International community and all who love justice, peace and dignity in the world. You stood by us through our most darkest moments in our struggle against the brutal South African Apartheid regime. We call on you to stand in solidarity with the suffering Palestinian people.

Today we stand to salute the brave and fearless Palestinian people who are facing the brutal might of the Israeli army to defend Masjidul Aqsa with their bare hands.

We say to them ….you will never stand alone…our voices will not be silenced…we feel your suffering….we feel your pain…we are united in our goal to free Palestine!

Madiba reminded us that: “our freedom is incomplete until Palestine is free! “

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA