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By Rev Berry Behr

 

There is nothing like sharing experiences to inspire and motivate a group of Faith Leaders to greater heights in eco-justice advocacy!

At our July Legacy Advocacy Programme workshop, faith leaders shared the work they had done since our June gathering. The actions taken were creative, brave, expansive and inspiring. Here are a few examples:

  • Sanele Tshange from Mount Fletcher in the Eastern Cape did not let her remote location stop her! She says: “On 8 June I went to the Mount Fletcher streets to preach out the gospel of NUCLEAR energy and also the environment. I have realised that people in my town are not aware of what is happening in our country.”
  • Rev Bheki Mathe from Kimberly had the opportunity to speak on a number of platforms regarding eco advocacy, including a meeting of the Northern Cape Circuit of ELCSA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa-Cape Orange Diocese), the Prayer Youth League (PYL) and the Moral Regeneration Movement. The PYL adopted a resolution to host an activity on the theme: “Lutheran Youth Advocating for Environmental Justice Through Sports and Recreation”, which was held on 18 June.
  • David Magerman from Komaggas in the Northern Cape collaborated with his colleagues Je-anie Ruiter and Jerome Fortuin to visit their local Church Council, the Ward Councillor and the school in Komaggas to discuss the issues of nuclear with particular focus on the toxic waste storage facility at Vaalputs, about 500 km to the South of their town. They also went door to door, discussing energy-related issues with inhabitants of Komaggas to make sure everyone understands what is at stake.

Putting it all into perspective, the group undertook an exercise which allowed insight into the diverse experiences of people who join the conversation about energy and nuclear power at different times.

Here is a snapshot of the 28 years between 1994 and South Africa’s first democratic elections, and 2020 when the Covid19 pandemic arrived. The highlighted years contain the names of our youngest delegates, whose experience is somewhat different to those who were born between 1960 and 1993.

1994    First democratic elections

Only 34% of South Africans have access to electricity

1997 Sanele Tshange born
1998 Keilidh Clapperton born

Lucinda Jaftha born

1998 Water and electricity shortages in the news
2000 Je-anie Rosie Ruiter born
2007 Start of loadshedding
2008 Water scarcity leads to limited -time water usage
2009 Fracking in the Free State
2009 Uranium Mining (Karoo)
2011 Greenpeace dumps 5 tons of coal at the entrance to Eskom’s Megawatt Park head office in Johannesburg
2011 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer procurement
2012 Marikana
2015 80,000 workers, or .5% of total employment, is from the coal industry
2016 Windfarm first phase
2017 Water cut offs due to severe drought
2018 South Africa is the seventh largest producer and consumer of coal in the world.

DAY ZERO Looms in Cape Town, Level 7 Water restrictions in place

2020 Liesbeeck River hijacked by Amazon
2020 84% of South Africans have access to electricity

 

The group departed from the three-day training in high spirits, inspired by their commitment to report back at regular intervals, to upgrade their social media action and to take the message out into the world that a nuclear-free South Africa is a great gift we can leave to our children’s grandchildren.

We extend special thanks to Shalimar Gardens Hotel & Conference Centre in Rylands Estate who went out of their way to show hospitality and kindness, even though they arrived on the day of Eid Al-Adha celebrations. 

 

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