The Urban Futures Centre (UFC) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in collaboration with 2 Suns Shamsaan and People Against Oppression (PAO) hosted a fundraising event called Butterfly Souls Family Day-Supporting Gaza’s Children at the Peoples Park in the Moses Mabhida precinct on Sunday, 04 February 2024.
The Butterfly Souls project is an inspiring idea where South African children acknowledge, remember and honour those that have been killed in Gaza.
At the Butterfly Souls Family Day, people of all religions and affiliations were given the platform to show their solidarity with Palestinians who are enduring ongoing bombardment, as well as to raise funds for medical care needs. Attendees learnt about children’s rights, activism, and painted wooden key rings with butterfly artwork for charity.
A highlight of the event included the welcoming of South African activist, Itani Rasalanavho who had embarked on a Long Walk For Gaza from Johannesburg to Durban.
Professor Monique Marks, Head of Urban Futures Centre at DUT, explained the significance of such an event.
“I’m currently employed by DUT which has a variety of Memorandum of Understandings with universities in Palestine, and so it’s really important that DUT has come to the fore to support Palestine. I also stand here as a person from the Jewish faith. I think what I want to say is what the Israeli state is doing is ‘not in my name.’ I think there are a number of Jewish people across the world that we have seen in saying similar things to us, we are not comfortable with this,” she said.
Prof Marks further added that the amazing thing is that Palestine has brought people together.
“Nadia Meer, (who is a Human Rights activist, and Head of 2 Suns Shamsaan), and I have been working jointly together since November last year. The reason that we are here is to personally welcome Itani in and to say thank you to him for standing behind us. Also, the Butterfly Souls is a way that our children can get involved in trying to contribute by saying that, we as children identify with other children in Palestine, who are either maimed or injured or had lost their lives. So, in everything that our children do, it’s a dedication to the children of Palestine,” she explained.
Prof Marks also spoke on the reason that they had chosen butterflies because they are beautiful but they live very short lives. “In that short time that they are alive they bring so much beautifulness into the world. We are hoping that with all the butterflies created by our children, we will be having an auction for people to come and buy the butterflies and that money will also go into the account which will go towards the children of Palestine,” she replied.
Aman Mahomed, DUT Webmaster who has been actively involved in raising awareness and support over the Palestinian struggle for freedom from Apartheid since the early 90s, said: “The event was a great initiative and it is vital for South Africans to show support for the children of Palestine who needs support from the world to heal and recover.”
All in all, the children enjoyed the activities of the day which included T-shirt printing, kite making, sand art, story time, face painting, and fun with inflatables.
Pictured: Professor Monique Marks, with South African activist, Itani Rasalanavho and Human Rights activist, Nadia Meer.
Visit https://www.shamsaan.org/butterfly-souls/ for more information about the Butterfly Souls initiative.