Cape Town marches against oppression. Again.


 Today, I was once again part of something “bigger than me” literally! by 100 000!

This was not my first march and this will not be my last…for as long as there is injustice in the world, I will march, and loudly or silently express my abhorrence at such evil.

Today, I marched (again) for freedom from oppression – freedom from Apartheid.

The last time I took to the streets in such large numbers, I was marching behind Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, in these very same streets and we were marching against oppression and against Apartheid, in South Africa.

Today, we marched against Apartheid – in Israel.

I marched behind that very same, wonderful man, (Tutu) and many others like him, with many more, behind me as well.

But this time, I walked a FREE WOMAN, in a FREE LAND, FREE from Oppression, FREE from Apartheid and FREE now, to do so, FOR A FREE Palestine.

There were many moments that I was totally overwhelmed, especially by the children.

Children; that fathers and mothers carried on their shoulders for more than two hours in scorching heat.

Not that, this, in itself, was overwhelming, but that the faces of these beautiful children, in their hundreds, ALIVE, could be HERE, innocent, like the hundreds, in GAZA (and elsewhere) which are NO LONGER HERE with us.

There were many poignant moments that I managed to catch in the countless pictures along the route.

Like when we neared the Slave Lodge in Spin Street, a huge mural of Bishop Tutu advertised an exhibition to be held – the copy/text beneath him: "I have something to tell you"  - juxtaposed against the Pray for Gaza placard.

Also in Spin Street; at the concrete tree or  which symbolizes the “Slave Tree” from which slaves were once auctioned, Nelson Mandela’s quote hung there, ringing true and loud for he said “ For to be free, is not to be merely cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that enhances, and respects the freedom of others”

 It was a bit chilling also to walk past “casspir-type” police vehicles, with men in riot gear, ready... – not to attack us – but “just in case” and to “protect the peace”

 As we approached the Civic Centre and the crowd moved under the larger than life mural of Nelson Mandela, I paused and saluted him and recalled that then, we marched to free South Africa from oppression, and to free him (and others) from prison.

 I also recalled one of his first speeches after his release in 1990 and his feelings then about Palestine, when he said: “We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestine” 

 That Mandela’s grandson: Mandla Mandela walked beside Arch Bishop Tutu and led this march today is a true testament of his legacy and influence.

 I fully intended to show my support for Palestine today, but I never imagined that I would be so moved by such a “simple act” of solidarity.

The crowds was awash with green, black, white and red and one of the most sobering moments was when I saw “victims” lay down with the faces covered by sheets.

Lifeless. Faceless. Nameless, like the thousands we have seen from that area over the last month.

I remember when Winnie Mandela in 1988 gave me her autograph - with a special message: The wish? The promise? Or the BELIEF that “ONE DAY WE SHALL BE FREE”

 As we left, people left messages on a super – large Palestine flag laid out on the street.

 Today, my message to the people of Palestine was the same as the one I got in 1988…”Hold on, for one day too, YOU SHALL BE FREE!”