Johannesburg – Yesterday marked the commencement of South African activist Itani Rasalanavho’s cross-provincial walk aimed at generating funds for the healthcare, prosthetics, and other essential requirements of Palestinian children in Gaza.
This distinctive initiative, which has been in the making for several years, involves Rasalanavho trekking from Soweto in Gauteng to Durban in Kwazulu Natal.
In a conversation with Salaamedia from Marlboro in Johannesburg, just an hour before resuming his journey, Rasalanavho conveyed that his and his companions’ fundraising efforts go beyond simply expressing solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. Their objective is to actively serve them, recognising that, at present, the Palestinians and their children are unable to fend and provide for themselves.
They rely on the global community for survival and necessities we often take for granted. Therefore, it becomes theirs, and our, duty to shoulder some of their responsibilities and contribute to raising funds for their medical and additional needs.
“We know that it’s impossible for Palestinians to raise and access their own funds. It is very difficult for them to pull together funds amongst themselves because most of them are refugees. Those people that are in Gaza today, most of them are refugees … We’re lending a hand as South Africans because we know what it is that Palestinians are facing today.”
To Not Being Complicit and On the Wrong Side of History
Since the occupation of Palestine by Israel, South Africans have united under a shared cause. From October 7 onward, pro-Palestinian rallies have surged to an unprecedented scale, with hundreds of thousands participating in street demonstrations, engaging in fundraisers, and expressing their views across various media platforms.
Rasalanavho’s initiative aligns with this collective movement. While garnering support from political entities, diverse religious groups, and numerous Palestinian solidarity organisations, he emphasises the backing received from civil society.
Beyond his primary goal of raising funds for Palestinian families, especially children in Gaza, Rasalanavho is propelled by another significant motive, the rejection of our current desensitised reality.
He finds it inconceivable that we live a world where thousands of children can be killed in a mere 100 days, where essential structures like homes, schools, hospitals, and refugee camps, havens for those seeking refuge, can be obliterated without global outcry.
Expressing dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, Rasalanavho is determined to instigate change. His resolve to alter the world, one step at a time, is driven by the refusal to be a part of a reality where such atrocities go unnoticed and unaddressed.
“We are imagining a totally new community and a totally new society that we never imagined as people. Let us imagine this [genocide] happening in our time. Let us imagine this happening during our watch, and let us choose to put ourselves and be on the right side of history. To ensure that in future, we can say that we did what we could. We have achieved what we could. We tried what we could.”