Palestine solidarity vigils in Cape Town set to continue indefinitely

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The weekly Palestine solidarity vigil at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town brought together clerics, NGOs, activists and ordinary citizens. This week’s gathering comes after a group of religious leaders travelled to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and refugee camps.

The vigils began shortly after Israel started its bombardment of Gaza following the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

A group of 17 clergymen from around the world travelled to the Middle Eastern country, following a call from church leadership in Palestine.

Returning from what he called a pilgrimage, the Dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Michael Weeder says the experience changed him forever.

“One orthodox bishop compared us to the Majai visiting from Persia and so forth, and he said the gold, frankincense and the myrrh that you are bringing is there in your presence, in solidarity and mercy and the loving way that you are with us. And that was a recurring message – an affirmation we received from all over, from within the refugee camps, the people in the churches.”

Every week, no matter the amount of people gathering, they stand firm, showing support for the people of Gaza and Palestine.

Event coordinator, Bonita Bennett says, “We want to put pressure on governments as well because you know that is the work of solidarity and South Africa coming out of the days of apartheid we have benefited from international solidarity. We know it’s slow work. We know it sometimes feels like we’re not making an impact, but we know in the end, it does make an impact and that’s what we want to add.”

As part of a movement, Birds of Gaza, the names of children who have died in the continuous conflict in Gaza are written on paper birds.

It’s pinned in a place where people can see their names and reflect on what it means.

Some names are of children as young as three years.

The vigil at the Cathedral will carry on indefinitely, every Wednesday during lunchtime, to continue showing support for the plight of the people of Gaza.