MEDIA RELEASE: Pops Mohamed confirms non-participation in CT World Music Festival opening event.
10 October 2012

Respected South African multi-instrumentalist, jazz musician and producer, Pops Mohamed, has confirmed in a telephone call to BDS South Africa, that he chose not to participate in the Cape Town World Music Festival's main opening event yesterday, Friday the 09th of November. Pops was scheduled to perform yesterday evening but informed BDS South Africa that he had decided on Thursday morning already that he will not be partaking. The announcement by Pops comes after a public call from Palestine solidarity activists for artists to withdraw from the Cape Town World Music festival due to its Israeli links.

The Cape Town World Music Festival, has come under public criticism for violating the "Palestinian boycott of Israel" by including the Israeli embassy as a co-sponsor and also scheduling an Israeli band, "Boom Pam", into its program.
Festival organizers, after being asked by fans on Facebook about Pop's non-performance said: "[T]hat decision was of Pops choosing, he will release his reasoning in due time." (

The SA Artists Against Apartheid collective and BDS South Africa, released an open letter to the organizers and artists of the Cape Town World Music Festival calling on the Festival to #DropIsrael from its program. Failing that, the two organizations called on artists that were scheduled to perform at the Cape Town World Music Festival to withdraw their involvement from the "compromised" event.

The joint letter from the two organizations to the Cape Town World Music Festival read: "We are writing to you with great disappointment, but also with hope – hope that you will choose to be on the right side of history…We strongly urge the Cape Town World Music Festival organizers to re-think the decision to accept Israeli government sponsorship and collaboration. We call on the Festival to openly reject the Israeli embassy collaboration…[and] if the Festival refuses this, then we call on you [the artists] -realizing the difficulties- to withdraw your involvement in a compromised festival. " For the full letter click here:

The Festival organizers response to the open letter and request, by BDS South Africa and SA Artists Against Apartheid, was that they themselves (the organizers) were Israeli and returning the Israeli embassy sponsorship would risk their citizenship.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for a cultural boycott of Israel as a way to bring Israel in line with international law. The Palestinian boycott of Israel has been modeled on the successful boycott of Apartheid South Africa. The boycott against Israel also has an increasing number of progressive Israelis who back the campaign. International musicians, artists, and bands who have responded and boycotted Israel in the recent past include Gil Scott-Heron, Elvis Costello, Cassandra Wilson, DJ Cat Power, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, director John Greyson, the Pixies, Massive Attack, Faithless, Gorillaz Sound System, and the Klaxxons.

BDS South Africa and SA Artists Against Apartheid would like to commend Pops Mohamed for not legitimizing a stage co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy, as participating in that event would have been to cross a boycott picket-line.

Muhammed Desai, BDS South Africa: 084 211 9988
Carrie Schwartz, BDS South Africa: 073 028 0301 |