Show your support for writer beaten over Salman Rushdie comment


Last week author Zainub Priya Dala was attacked in Durban after expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie. Three men followed her on Wednesday afternoon and tried to push her vehicle off the road. When she stopped her car, two men held a knife to her neck and beat her face with brick.

The incident has shocked the writing fraternity, with outrage pouring in from the across the globe. The attack has also reignited questions over freedom of expression and intolerance in a country that prides itself on a Constitution built to protect these rights.

A group of individuals, made up of writers, activists and concerned citizens, has penned a letter of support for ZP Dala and we publish it in full below.

Editors’ Note: To add your name to the list. Drop us a message, with your full name and designation (if applicable).

Collective Statement in Support of ZP Dala

ZP Dala, the debut novelist at the Time of the Writer Festival 2015 has been assaulted because she admires the literary style of Salman Rushdie. Regardless of opinions on the merits of Rushdie’s work, we should not allow this attack to go without condemnation and prosecution.

To withstand what can only be labeled thuggery, Dala deserves the support and protection of the community in which she lives and writes. It is in this spirit of support, concern for a fellow writer and the freedom to air unpopular opinions that we the undersigned make clear that we support ZP Dala’s right to hold and air her opinion without reserve. The poverty of a violent response cannot be allowed to determine the parameters of debate and so we condemn any attacks on her, whether physical or ideological, and call instead for dialogue and critical exchange that enriches our intellectual environment.


1.     Dr. Fatima Seedat (UKZN, Gender and Religion)
2.     Ayesha Mall (DUT Journalism)
3.     Aneesa Vawda
4.     Saber Ahmed Jhazbhay (Attorneys Omar and Jhazbhay)
5.     Liza Aziz
6.     Rashida Mulla
7.     Dr. Clint LeBruyns (UKZN)
8.     Ayesha Kajee (Political analyst and  Human Rights Activist)
9.     Muhammad Cajee (ASRI)
10.  Sakina Godwin
11.  Dr. Mariam Seedat-Khan (UKZN)
12.  Imraan Coovadia
13.  Ambassador Iqbal Jhazbhay
14.  Zain Kader
15.  Saydoon Nisa Sayed (Religions for Peace)
16.  Shafiq Morton (Photo-journalist, author, VOC presenter)
17.  Nanda Soobben
18.  Prof. Shireen Hassim (Wits, Political Studies)
19.  Shakira Shaikh
20.  Fatima Manjra
21.  Khatija Rassool
22.  Azad Essa (Al-Jazeera/The Daily Vox)
23.  Ebrahim Essa (Crescent Girls High School)
24.  Prof. Anwar Suleman Mall (UCT)
25.  Dr. Rene Smith (DUT)
26.  Prof.  Ahmed Bawa (Vice Chancellor, DUT)
27.  Amanda Adams
28.  Suleman Lockhat
29.  Shabbir Banoobhai
30.  Dr. Lubna Nadvi (UKZN)
31.  Associate Professor Sa’diyya Shaikh (UCT)
32.  Buddy Govender
33.  Masnoenah Kamalie (UJ)
34.  Dr. Ahmed Manjra
35.  Yacoob Moosa
36.  Fathima Dala
37.  Assoc. Prof. Salim Vally (UJ)
38.  Shafinaaz Hassim (Author, Sociologist)
39.  Colin Thakur (DUT)
40.  KS Padachie (Reader, Writer, Educator Parent,  Tongaat Community Activist)
41.  Ayesha Adam
42.  Zukiswa Wanner
43.  Richard Ellis (Musician)
44.  Thohida Mohamed Kader
45.  Nishaat A. Siddiqi
46. Nechama Brodie
47. Theresa Malinson (The Daily Vox)
48. Imran Garda (Al Jazeera)
49. Aman Maharaj
50. Shehnaaz Peer
51. Khalida Moosa
52. Penny de Vries
53. Logesh Chetty
54. Kamenthri Naidoo
55. Rustum Kozain
56. Nirisha Haricharan
57. Nadia Kirsten
58. Aadil Kirsten
59. Akbar H Ally
60. Aneshree Naidoo (Journalist)
61. Razia van der Schuur
62. Yashin Bagwandeen
63. Sulaiman Philip (Journalist)
64. Dr Thomas Groenewald
65. Sarah Henderson
66. Adv Lavan Gopaul BCom LLB (Natal)
67. Nicola Spurr
68. Jacques Rousseau, Chairperson, Free Society Institute
69. Sumayya Lee (Author)
70. Tariq Desai (University of Cambridge)
71. Darren Berkland
72. Rifat Esha Islam (Poet)
73. Tess Sulaman
74. Michelle Groenewald
75. Charlotte Otter (Author)
76. Yasmin Jadwat
77. Rifat Mohidin (Journalist)
78. Devon Martindale
79, Dr Camaren Peter
80. Gabriel Hoosain Khan
81. Nabila Goga
82. Russell Grinker
83. Krishna L Reddy
84. Tim Martin (Designer & Lecturer)
85. Floyd Codlin
86. Sarah Liptrot (Sculptor & Teacher)
87. Christopher Webb (UCT)
88. Ra’eesa Pather (The Daily Vox)
89. Sholena Narain (Physiotherapist)
90. Michaela Naicker
91. Dr Kreesen M Naicker
92. Subry Govender (Veteran struggle journalist)
93. Carmel Chetty
94. Dr. Devi Rajab
95. Safiyyah Surtee (UJ/Masjid ul Islam)
96. Fathima Essack
97. Raeesa Mahomed (Drama Producer/Director, Writer, Actress)
98. Danny Naicker (Convenor of the Live Poets Society)
99. Naseema Mall
100. Prof. Suleman Dangor
101. Dr. Asif Suleman
102. Peter Croeser
103. Omar Badsha
104. Arun Naicker
105. Satish Dhupelia
106. Munirah Lakhi
107. Faranaaz Parker (The Daily Vox)
108. Aasia Fredericks
109. Laura Franz-Kamissoko
110. Yasser Munif (Emerson College, Sociologist)
111. Rashad Bagus (Wits)
112. Saaleha Idrees Bamjee
113. Denia Jansen
114. Prof Aslam Fataar
115. Shaheeda Sadeck
116. Nadia Davids (Writer)
117. Mandla Langa
118. Tina-Louise Smith
119. Aadil Lakhi
120. Nqaba Mpofu
121. Devan Pillay
122. Ziyaad Essack
123. David Kenvyn (Author)
124. Julie Hall (Writer and Lecturer)
125. Mudney Hallim
126. Karyn Levy
127. Pontsho Pilane (The Daily Vox)
128. Stephanie Kemp
129. Imraan Hassim Seedat
130. Pralini Naidoo
131. Nadia Meer
132. Gabrielle Le Roux
133. Professor Ashraf Hassen Coovadia
134. Razina Munshi
135. Usama Hasan
136. Women’s Cultural Group (Shameema Mayat, President)
137. Jimmy McGregor
138. Dr. Robin Chandler (sociologist, USA)
139. Fatima Hassan
140. Naseema Khan
141. Ruth Hartley
142. Stephanie Kemp
143. David P. Kramer
144. Mohini Soman
145. Aadila Sabat
146. Fatima Gabru
147. Qiniso Mbili (Journalist)
148. Gabeba Baderoon (Penn State and Stellenbosch Univ)
149. Andrew Joseph
150. Will Eighteen
151. Brigid Keeley
152. Margie Orford (PEN SA)
153. Chanette Paul
154. Deborah Ewing
155. Patrick Bond
156. Kirsten Miller

If you are a writer and would like to sign the Open Letter from PEN South Africa: Violent Intimidation of Writers Must Not be Tolerated, please email BooksLive. 

Photo: Supplied.