New large-scale Bo-Kaap Palestine mural to highlight ‘right of return’

The Palestinian flag painted across an entire block of flats on Astana Street, Bo-Kaap. Photographer: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

The Palestinian flag painted across an entire block of flats on Astana Street, Bo-Kaap. Photographer: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 9, 2024


Cape Town - The Bo-Kaap, synonymous with its committed stance and support for Palestinian liberation, visually expressed through the numerous murals across the neighbourhood, will see an additional large-scale mural highlighting the right of return for Palestinians.

Near what is considered the largest Palestinian flag mural across an entire block of flats on Astana Street, the mural has been earmarked for a block of flats on Voetboog Road, part of the “All Roads Lead to Palestine” project.

The project is a collaborative initiative between independent artist Nawawie Mathews, Murals for Gaza, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The public has been invited to participate or simply be present to express their support and solidarity at the site from 10am on Friday and Saturday.

Mathews said: “Ever since 2021, when we started painting the Wall 4 All in Salt River, we looked at the symbol of resistance. We have the watermelon, cactus, olive tree, spoons, keys, and the keffiyeh. So I’ve added the road as a symbol of resistance and then the dream started of ‘how do we get and create this global awareness about all the Palestinians living in the diaspora, how do we encourage them to walk home or go home’.”

The image of Handala, a cartoon character by Naji al-Ali, of a 10-yearold Palestinian refugee with his back towards the world and folded hands at his back, will also be incorporated at the road, including the keffiyeh.

The project will see a collaboration with activists from across the world, painting a similar road, which will then be symbolically and virtually joined to create a singular route, leading the world and displaced Palestinians to their homeland.

“The next step would be to have this online website, it will be interactive. Whoever paints a road wherever they are, they will take photographs of the road and then upload it with the co-ordinates and then this road will be symbolically linked on the site and you will see this path going up Africa, from Europe, from America, hence the title ‘All Roads Leads to Palestine’. And we’re hoping one day in sha Allah, when Palestine is liberated, we can all jump on one of the roads and take a drive, visit and celebrate their freedom with them,” Mathews said.

Murals for Gaza facilitator Ayesha Gierdien said the two-storey block of flats consisting of four residences on Voetboog Road, Bo-Kaap is the last block of flats when coming up Pentz Street.

Murals for Gaza is a Bo-Kaap community project which has seen several homes and stores painted with symbols of Palestinian solidarity, liberation and resistance since October 7, 2023.

“I’ve spoken to many Palestinians. Their heart and soul wants to go home and I think this speaks to every person that has ever been away from home,” said Gierdien.

“The one thing where you know you’re safe and secure is to go home. So Palestinians, even knowing there’s no safety and security for them in Palestine, they still want to go home. So we can’t take them home on an aeroplane or a bus or a train but we can create this global road that every person can visit.”

PSC co-ordinator professor Usuf Chikte said in 1950, Israel passed an Absentee Property Law that meant Israel could take any property belonging to Palestinians, who were forced off their land during the Nakba of 1948.

This law prevented Palestinians from returning to their homes. Just recently, Israel approved the largest land grab in the West Bank in three decades.

“It is part of the Zionist policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, to expel them from their homelands and to exterminate them to ensure a Jewish majority on Palestinian land, to eliminate all possibilities for an independent Palestinian state, to liquidate Palestinian national rights, and to complete the implementation of the colonial settler project based on Jewish supremacy in all of historic Palestine,” Chikte said.

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Cape Argus