South African activist offers perspective on BDS

An impassioned speech by South African activist at Israeli Apartheid Week in London quickly gains attention.

The global symposium Israeli Apartheid Week kicked off a few days ago in cities and campuses around the world. Of particular note was an impassioned lecture given by a South African activist and PhD candidate called Mbuyiseni Ndlozi in London on Wednesday, on the connection between the struggle to end South African apartheid and what he described as an ‘evolved,’ and indeed worse, case in Israel.


Ndlozi’s statement stands in stark contrast to the recent video interview with Normal Finkelstein, who says plainly that the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid should not extend beyond the confines of international law. Ndlozi encourages activists to go further and appeal to people’s principles of freedom, justice and equality, what he said worked in South Africa.

Ndlozi also highlights how the South African apartheid regime manipulated world opinion for decades in regards to the justification of separating Whites and Blacks and how this deception must be broken when it comes to Israel.

It cannot be true that on the face of the world today a people still exist who think they can survive with a system of separateness at the expense of others. It cannot be true that what we are continuing to do is to sit and talk all the time, that what we are continuing to do is sit and debate, is it apartheid or is it not, is it like South Africa or is it not. It is a violation of the fundamental right, the fundamental principles that we hold so dearly within our hearts. The principles of freedom, justice and equality.

These three points, which he repeats several times, boil down to the essence of calls for the solidarity campaign on which BDS is based.

Israeli Apartheid Week began in 2005 by a student group on the University of Toronto in Canada. It now takes place in over 40 cities worldwide and includes lectures, films, workshops and other activities that educate “about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system,” according to the website