Two concerts this weekend designed to pressure the University into divesting from South Africa will likely raise more than $18,000 for anti-apartheid efforts, organizers said yesterday.
"HarvAid: Songs for a Free South Africa," which is sponsored by Harvard-Radcliffe Alumni Against Apartheid (HRAAA)and features several folk and gospel singers, is nearly sold out. All twelve hundred tickets for the Sunday night concert have been sold, and half of the tickets for the Monday concert remain, organizers said.
The HRAAA kicked off its concerts at a press conference at Philips Brooks House yesterday.
The Sunday and Monday night performances in Sanders Theater will feature Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Tom Paxton, the Harvard-Radcliffe Kuumba Singers and 14 other performers.
Seeger, Near and Paxton did not attend the press conference, but sent taped messages explaining their involvement in HarvAid and the fight against apartheid.
"This is an issue whose time has come, and if anybody would like to see peace in the world they know that here is the time to throw your whole weight on the side of justice," Seeger said. "It is a chance to see peace come without a whole lot of bloodshed."
The proceeds from HarvAid will go to HRAAA, an organization of alumni activists pressuring Harvard to divest its holdings in South Africa. HRAAA over the past three years has sponsored alternative slates of prodivestment candidates for the Board of Overseers. Three candidiates have been elected from these slates in the past two elections.
About $4500 of the proceeds will be given to the Fund for a Free South Africa (FreeSA), a foundation formed by South African political exiles in the United States, HRAAA Executive Director Dorothee Benz '87 said.
At the press conference yesterday, Themba Vilakasi, director of the Fund and chairman of the African National Congress in the United States, said that the divestment movement was important because a wide variety of people denounced apartheid in words, including the government of South Africa, without acting on those words. "We cannot measure people's commitment against apartheid simply by words--we must look at their deeds," he said.
Benz said that the concert is being held in part to keep the divestment issue alive in the press. She said that the recent press ban in South Africa has caused a decrease in activism because of a declining awareness of apartheid.
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