Johannesburg – Local celebrity and model Shashi Naidoo announced on Wednesday morning that she will go on a fact-finding tour of the Palestinian territories, guided by the SA Council of Churches, following the outcry around her social media posts.
"I made a very public apology and a part of that apology was to educate myself and re-educate myself," Naidoo said at a media briefing in Johannesburg.
The briefing was held in conjunction with human Rights and Palestinian solidarity organisation Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa and other partners.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
Friends and family members of the model also attended in their numbers to provide support.
Naidoo agreed to the briefing after she came under fire for expressing her views on the situation between Israel and the Palestinian territories on social media site, Twitter on Saturday. Her comments created a massive outcry, with some saying the 37-year-old’s views came across as being "extremely uninformed".
A TWEET FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE:
Naidoo called Gaza a "shit-hole" and was seemingly pro-Israeli.
"I feel for me that this is a humanitarian issue and I have been very disappointed in myself for not knowing and not being fully aware of what was happening in Gaza and sometimes ignorance can be just as bad as having those thoughts," she said.
She said it had been a "tough couple of days", adding that she had realised she could use her voice in a positive way.
"I'm going to use the voice that I have to discuss the humanitarian issues, to share what I learnt. It is going to be a journey for me and I hope that other people who had been ignorant before can share in that journey with me," she said.
Naidoo, broke into tears, when questioned on whether she's forgiven herself.
She said she is working towards being merciful to herself, saying it’s a work in progress.
"My apology will come in my actions moving forward."
According to Naidoo, she saw the backlash she received on social media as a necessity.
"I read every single comment and message, because it was self-punishment, I wanted to punish myself and feel that pain of what I have done. I want to use my influence to promote peace."
Duduzile Mahlangu-Masango from the South African Council of Churches said they supported Naidoo's decision to visit Gaza.
"We know as Christians we are called to accept when one apologises. When one apologises you can't turn them away. We really support the move of Shashi to wanting to know," Mahlangu-Masango said.
Mahlangu-Masango said the council would be holding her hand in correcting her wrong.
BDS’s Mohamed Desai said the organisation condemned all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, and all forms of violence, including death threats, that Naidoo allegedly received.