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South Africa: We cannot celebrate our freedom while there are people occupied by Israel

February 12, 2024 at 8:46 am

Players of Palestine pose for a team photo ahead of the friendly football match between South Africa and Palestine national teams in Cape Town, South Africa on February 11, 2024. [Üsame Yıldız – Anadolu Agency]

“We cannot celebrate our freedom alone when there are some people in the world who remain occupied by the colonial Israel state,” South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, said yesterday, referring to Palestine.

Kodwa’s statements came before the Football for Humanity match between the Palestinian national team and South Africa.

“We have no doubt in our mind that a horizon of a free Palestine is coming very soon,” he added, noting that his country is using sport as an instrument to build bridges of peace.

“South Africa has been a good friend of Palestine. We come a long way. The Palestine of today is the South Africa of yesterday. They stood with us at the time of need, and we cannot celebrate our freedom alone when there are some people in the world who remain occupied by the colonial Israel state that continues to murder children and unborn babies.”

Commenting on the match, the South African Presidency said that it symbolises the historical solidarity between the two countries.

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“This event symbolises South Africa’s historic solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against illegal occupation and violent excesses by the State of Israel,” President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement.

The presidency added that the match holds great significance because it is held on the day that marks the release of the first democratically elected black president in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, from prison after he spent 27 years opposing white minority rule and apartheid.

On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela, the leader of the movement that ended apartheid in South Africa, was released from jail after 27 years.

In late 2023, South Africa filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of failing to fulfil its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

On 26 January, the ICJ ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocide against Palestinians and improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

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