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Amandla Palestine

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Tales of Intifada
By Fatima Asmal
Freelance Writer, South Africa
Amandla
‘Amandla Intifada,’ is a collaborated effort by four of South African bands, Faizal and the 5 Pencils, The Mavrix, What if…, and Abu Zayd.
Cover
A group of South African musicians have released an album, proceeds from what will be used by the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) to launch a full scale cultural boycott against Israel.

Released in early February, ‘Amandla Intifada,’ is a collaborated effort by four bands, Faizal and the 5 Pencils, The Mavrix, What if…, and Abu Zayd,  who decided to record the album to express their support for the Palestinian people in their struggle against the Israeli oppression and occupation.

In addition to making the album available for free download on the Internet; they also donated 1000 copies to the PSC for countrywide distribution through various groups associated with the Palestinian cause.

 "We decided to use this CD towards launching a cultural boycott against Israel, whereby we encourage South African artistes not to perform in Israel itself or perform with Israeli artistes anywhere in the world."
Cultural Boycott 

 "They approached the PSC and said we could distribute it in whatever way we deemed fit," said PSC Johannesburg member, Savera Kalideen. 

"Since COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) has launched a boycott of Israeli goods, we decided to use this CD towards launching a cultural boycott against Israel, whereby we encourage South African artistes not to perform in Israel itself or perform with Israeli artistes anywhere in the world." 
 
The PSC will distribute the CD in return for voluntary donations which would be used to host a professionally-organized cultural event at which several high profile South African artistes – including musicians, dancers, playwrights, poets and comedians – will pledge a firm commitment towards supporting the cultural boycott, Kalideen explained.  

"This cultural boycott is in response to the 2005 Palestinian call to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel," she said, adding that the PSC hoped to host the event in March or April this year, depending on when the necessary fund could be secured.

From S. African Apartheid to Palestinian Struggle

Musician and producer Jeremy Karodia, a vocalist on one of the collaborating bands, The Mavrix, whose label Black Seed Music produced the album, said the musicians support the PSC decision, likening it to the 'international cultural boycott of apartheid.'

"When South Africa went through the struggle against apartheid, some of our biggest support came from the Palestinians, who identified their struggle with ours," Karodia added. 

 "We now find the roles reversed and we wanted to reciprocate by showing our support for the Palestinians because our government isn’t making enough noise."

Jeremy Karodia – himself  a political activist during the South African apartheid era -  said that everything related to the production of the album from the performances themselves to the cover design to the printing had been voluntarily contributed to by various individuals including a Jewish engineer who mixed the album and several children.

Amandla Intifada also features one of his personal compositions ‘Burnt Humus,’ penned during the  2006 massacres of Qana and Gaza, when he had just  received an email from a close Palestinian friend.

"I think we should really commend the musicians for sharing all their professional skills and giving us a completely professional product - it shows how people all over the country have come together to show their support for Palestine in word and deed," said Kalideen, adding that the album was really touching.

 "The lyrics remind you of what you see all the time in Gaza and Palestine, yet they are sung in a very gentle way, which is opposite the experience of the Palestinian people."

Amandla is a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning "power" or "strength." It was made popular during the apartheid era in South Africa when it was used to motivate people in their struggle for liberation.

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