The pigs head campaign against retail giant Woolworths was suspended earlier this week – for now.
The suspension of the campaign by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) follows the campaign being condemned by their allies Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa) and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) Western Cape.
Following the war in Gaza, BDS South Africa launched a consumer boycott campaign against Woolworths for its trade relations with Israel.
In Solidarity with BDS South Africa, Cosas recently smuggled a pigs head into the Woolworths Sea Point supermarket and placed it in the meat section.
And on Tuesday 4 November five Cosas members carrying seven pigs heads, protested outside Woolworths’ Cape Town head office.
Their actions were denounced by BDS SA and the ANCYL.
BDS South Africa national coordinator Muhammed Desai said while they were convinced that Cosas’s intention was to contribute to the boycott campaign, they didn’t find the pig head campaign productive, and “we are against all forms of racism” and anti-Semitism.
“The pigs head campaign is troublesome and threaten to marginalise some supporters of the boycott Woolworths campaign,” said Desai.
ANCYL provincial convenor Muhammad Sayed said although they wanted Cosas to completely stop the pigs head campaign, Cosas rather opted to suspend it.
“We respect Cosas decision. They’re not accountable to ANCYL,” said Sayed.
“They have asked us to stop the pigs head campaign but we have agreed to suspend it. We’ll look at other methods of protesting until we meet Woolworths Chief Executives to find a resolution. If they don’t come to the table we will resume the pig head campaign,” said Cosas provincial chair, Siphakamise Ngxowa.
Ngxowa a matric pupil, said his organisation was not going to apologise for using pigs heads in the boycott Woolworths campaign.
“Our efforts are from revolutionary love for Palestine and the children being killed in the Gaza war,” he said.
In response to the pig head campaign suspension, Woolworths Retail Group Director Paula Disberry maintained that the campaign was deeply offensive, socially divisive and disrespectful. – Peter Luhanga