Wits students disrupt concert

Johannesburg - Wits University students on Tuesday stormed into a concert venue and disrupted Israeli artist Yossi Reshef's performance, forcing organisers to cancel the event.

Kenneth Mgaga, a political studies student who took part in the protest, said students celebrated after the cancellation of the concert.

"The Reshef performance, which was funded by the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria, was a clear violation of the cultural boycott of Israel," said Mgaga.

"Weeks prior to the concert our Student Representative Council (SRC) had repeatedly raised this concern with the organisers as well as relevant university authorities.

"However, neither the organisers nor the University Management responded to the SRC 's letters. Thus students embarked on protest action, to much success."

Mgaga said hosting Reshef in South Africa is a direct attempt to undermine the Israeli Apartheid Week campaign.

"Last year the Israeli government sent public relations envoys to our campuses during Apartheid Week to 'educate' us," said Mgaga.

"This year they've decided on a different approach. Either way, we stand firm in our solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel and its apartheid policies."

On Monday night 45 Rhodes University academics and students protested against Reshef's performance.

Abner Mosase, the International Relations Secretary of the ANC Youth League, said in a statement the league condemns Reshef's visit to the country.

"We call on all students to boycott Rehef's concerts as it only seeks to normalise apartheid Israel," he said.

"No one must be seen singing with [Israeli] apartheid, particularly in South Africa where we have seen what apartheid policies can do."

 

- Sapa

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