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|
|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.