Johannesburg – Human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa will formally write to US hip-hop star Pharrell Williams and ask him to postpone his Woolworths collaboration until the company divests from Israel.

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Pop star and eco activist Pharrell Williams has become the style director for Woolworths.

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It was announced on Thursday that the Grammy-winning artist would be teaming up with Woolworths SA as a style director.

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Williams, who is also an eco-activist, is to take on the role of style director from September in a ground-breaking collaboration across a series of projects focused on sustainability.

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But hours after the Happy singer announced on Twitter that he would be coming to South Africa and collaborating with Woolworths SA, he was inundated with tweets from members of the public alerting him to the #Boycott Woolworths campaign and calling on him not to collaborate with Woolworths until it divested from Israel.

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The BDS #BoycottWoolworths campaign is inspired by the anti-apartheid boycott movement of the 1980s against companies that traded with apartheid South Africa.

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“Given our history, as South Africans, we call for the boycott of companies, such as Woolworths, who continue to trade with apartheid Israel,” BDS SA said.

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“We trust that Pharrell Williams will heed our call.”

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An independent impact report by a Wits University researcher has found that Woolworths has been losing more than R30 million – or close to R8m a month – since the start of the #BoycottWoolworths campaign.

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According to the report, based on a survey of more than 3 000 participants, the true loss “could be in the hundreds of millions”.

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The ANC Youth League in Sophiatown also took to Twitter to express its disapproval of Williams’s collaboration with Woolworths.

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The league tweeted: “No chief not on this one, not with a company that supports apartheid.”