Wits Vuvuzela

Arts in the name of climate change

The arts came alive in the fight for climate change in Johannesburg’s Newtown last night as part of an initiative calling for African governments to prioritise the issue.

The concert, hosted by 350Africa, involved a number of Witsies who used their artistic talents to contribute to the evening’s line-up.

Second year Wits psychology student and neo-soul artist Nicole Daniella lent her voice to the fight against climate change. Daniella said it was “an honour” to be part of an organisation that advocates for the betterment of the environment.

She said, “we need to have events like this to raise awareness because we aren’t as aware as the northern hemisphere, so we need to become aware because it’s affecting us as its affecting them.

Third year BA student and poet Lebohang Nova’ Masango who performed her popular To Do List for Africa poem said, “the way our socio-economic system is set up is that anything that happens in terms of climate change will hit us the hardest”.

“It’s not so much a celebration as it is about creating awareness and I think there is so much strength in music and poetry that we also want to revive that in our campaigning, so this is only the beginning.”

350Africa and Arab world team leader Ferrial Adam said the event was more about awareness than entertainment.

“It’s not so much a celebration as it is about creating awareness and I think there is so much strength in music and poetry that we also want to revive that in our campaigning, so this is only the beginning”, said Adam.

The concert comes just after the organisation staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday, to deliver a petition to the President asking him to address the issues of climate issues for South Africans when he meets with global leaders in at the United Nations in New York next Tuesday.

“ Yesterday we handed in a petition to the presidency to say, look we know South Africans is going through these talks, these are our demands, said Adam”.

Adam confirmed that climate change is not at the top of the agenda for African governments, however said that the impact of climate affects change is going to affect the poorest and “it’s something we need to deal with”.

Campaigner at 350Africa Amir Bagheri confirmed that the organisation is due to open the first ever university branch at Wits at the beginning of next year.

“We have already collected over 40 signatures in support of starting the 350Wits group, which is enough to be recognised by the Wits Student Representative Council and admin”, said Bagheri.

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Voices unheard

Lebo Radebe and Sibusiso Chiba are two of the many homeless people prowling the city of Johannesburg.

They are scavengers for food, for drugs, for shelter on the bitterly cold pavements, for anything that can make their lives a little better.

Poverty and hunger have brought these two young men together.

They are among the more than 24 million people who go hungry in South Africa.  With unemployment and poverty levels rising, the number of people who are food secure could increase. While other people scavenge for food in the waste dumps and dustbins, Sbusiso and Lebo collect and sell scrap metal.

Although they support each other and look out for one another, they are not always in agreement about their value system as they eke out a life on the street.

This video is a production of the 2014 Wits Journalism short course in television. 

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