We are proud to say that the Africa1 (humanitarian aid land) convoy to the Gaza Strip from South Africa is destined to become the first ever relief mission to Gaza from Africa.”I was inspired last year by the convoys that went to Gaza from Europe, so we asked ourselves; why not from Africa?” said Sheikh Walid al-Saadi of the South African Relief Agency (SARA).
Head of the Convoy, Moulana Ihsaan Hendriks briefed the Channel Islam International (Cii) media on
developments just prior to departure. He said that the convoy, which was almost a year in the making, had accomplished several milestones.
All hundred volunteers, the overwhelming majority of them South African, had been granted clearance by the Egyptian authorities to enter Gaza. The entry is scheduled to coincide with the end of Ramadhaan.
The Africa to Gaza Aid Convoy’s mission follows recent attempts by European and American ships to reach Gaza as part of a coalition known as Freedom Flotilla II but were blocked from doing so.
They include the American ship The Audacity of Hope flotilla that was prevented by Greek authorities from sailing to Gaza from Athens and the French ship Dignite-Al-Karma that was intercepted by an Israeli naval ship.
Last year, Israeli commandos prevented the Gaza Freedom Flotilla from reaching Gaza from Turkey and bordered the ship Mavi Marmara. The raid on the ship led to the death of nine Turkish activists.
After eight months of preparation, the land convoy which consists of ten trucks, departed Durban, South Africa on June 26 2011, passing Newcastle (Northern Natal) and has passed through several countries thus far including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan and Egypt.
South Africans, Muslim and Christian support this initiative. Rasekoala, a granddaughter of South African ANC activists, continued: “As a South African, after what we went through and coming out of that and having the support of the world, as a Christian, I had to take a stand.”
Teachers and students of Madrasah Ummul Hasanaat made monetary contributions to the aid and coloured in flags in support of the convoy to Gaza. We are so excited.
Catch Cii for current updates on the convoy on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Africa-1-Gaza-Aid-Convoy