A NOTE ON “HUNGER” AND “FASTING” IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT
“Hunger” is an extremely sensitive term to the South African public. Hunger plagues wide areas of our country and continent. We in no way intend to trivialize the impact of real, ongoing hunger, or compare it to our symbolic acts.
We have chosen the word hunger to highlight that willful attempts to starve the spirit of our nation are also an attack on our essential rights.
Likewise, we are aware that this action was initiated two weeks before Ramadan, a deeply sacred time for Muslims. We do not intend to infringe on or conlict with the importance of this time for them.
These are not acts of sacrifice, prayer, or meditation, although they are also that for many people. They are, foremost, acts of protest.
We also do not compare ourselves or hearken back to the tradition of hunger protestors in detention here or elsewhere.
This protest is not designed to injure its participants. It is designed to demand an end to a situation of injustice and inhumanity, in a tradition similar to that going back in many cultures for more than 2000 years.
We accept any criticism and dialogue regarding any of these and apologize fully for the impact the use of this word might have for people.