They call it AfrikaVuka and it represents one of the most vibrant campaigns on the continent of Africa that is spearheading series of actions to show the determination of some Africans to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.
In Zulu, the word ‘vuka’ depicts an awakening and that is exactly what this platform and related campaigns and activities seek to achieve.
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Previously known as deCOALonise.Africa, the platform is a powerful movement of citizens around the continent working to build a future that’s free from the destructive impacts of climate change.
Also, the Afrika Vuka platform is part of a global Fossil Free campaign led by local groups demanding local communities and institutions to commit to a fast plus just transition to 100% renewable energy for all, no new fossil fuel projects anywhere, and not a penny more for dirty energy.
At the heart of #AfrikaVuka is a people-centered movement with individuals, families, and communities with first-hand experience of droughts, floods and displacement caused by the climate crisis.
On May 24 and May 25 (Africa Day) 2019, people across over 20 African countries marched the streets in concurrent actions to demand that local leaders commit to building a fossil free Africa that puts people and justice before profits.
Included in these activities were countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, the DRC, and Togo.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, communities affected by mining and those in support of these communities marched to the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court, with a memorandum calling for a national ban on fracking in South Africa.
In Abuja, Nigeria, to kick off a series of Africa Day actions, school children produced and delivered a parachute that combined art and messaging demanding action to tackle the climate crisis. The parachute was delivered to the parliament building where strikers called on members of parliament to pass the climate bill and lead Nigeria on the road to climate justice.
Already in Africa, there have been recent globally-concerning disasters such as the impacts of Cyclone Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe which have claimed thousands of lives, droughts and floods in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape that have given rise to grave environmental and activists’ concerns.
With the exception of South Africa, African countries have done relatively little to contribute to climate change, yet are being severely impacted and have little to no resources to cope with the aftermath. Less developed African countries are a natural disaster away from sinking into a negative loop of poverty and lack of access to social and economic opportunities exacerbated by climate change.
Participants from oil and coal affected communities including fishing and farming communities; women and youth renewable energy clubs; civil society actors; district leaders including environmental officers, community development officers and forestry officials; local government officials; cultural and religious leaders have all taken part in various activities to send a strong message that Africa doesn’t have to rely on fossil fuels to satisfy its energy demand, but rather lead the world in the just energy transition powered by low-cost renewable resources.
The alternative, as is being championed, is renewable energy. Some activities lined up for the year are Renewable Energy Benefits: Can South East Europe realise the full potential of the Energy Transition (11 June 2019 |Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina); IRENA at EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019 in Brussels (17 June 2019 |Brussels, Belgium); Seventeenth Meeting of the IRENA Council (25 June 2019 |Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates); IRENA Innovation Day in Uruguay (16 July 2019 |Montevideo, Uruguay).