Legacy Champions
Bright and Breezy Activists Take Lead In Their Communities

Bright and Breezy Activists Take Lead In Their Communities

Vuyiseka Mani and Zukisa Mankabane are two environmental activists on a mission to expose and address environmental injustice. Their work through The Green Connection Legacy Programme and the Eastern Cape Environmental Network continues to shine. 

From leading a successful picket in Gqeberha against Karpowerships early in April, to conducting environmental awareness programmes in several communities, they saw the need to upskill their community about climate change and global warming and the harm caused by the extraction of fossil fuels. 

This led to the formation of partnerships to work with 25 learners from Emafini Primary School and Esivuyiseni Primary School as well as community members to advocate for the protection of environmental rights. 

For Mani, the environment is not only about cultivation of vegetables. It extends to everyday struggles in her community as a result of being locked into fossil fuels. She says, “Government is bringing developments of oil and gas exploration that may not improve the lives of the people and may not contribute to the solution towards the current climate crisis.”

Vuyiseka Mani and Zukisa Mankabane discussing challenges of the Environmental Impact Assessment participation process within their community.

Mankabane adds, “The creation of these partnerships is to mobilise and inform people about the dangers of fossil fuel extraction.”

These two leaders have been involved in exchange programmes to train community members about how to transition from the current use of coal to green energy. “We are pleased to be seeing the change in our communities, as the programme based in KwaZakhele has started installation of solar panels to generate electricity, through the Nelson Mandela University. For about four months now, we have also been working tirelessly with the city of Ekurhuleni and three cooperatives that deal with waste management to identify three sites in their communities that need recycling,” says Mankabane.

It is wonderful to see all the hard work these activists have put into their communities, educating their communities about the dangers of fossil fuels and the rapid energy transition that South Africa needs.

Lastly, Mani calls on municipal councillors to implement a system change to ensure that communities are included in decisions that affect their livelihoods. She continues to praise The Green Connection Legacy Programme, which helped her develop her advocacy skills and to form relationships with external stakeholders. Moreover, she acquired skills on programme monitoring and evaluation.

The Green Connection Legacy Programme equips the Green Connectors with advocacy skills to fight against environmental and socio-economic injustices through workshops and mentoring. 

Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis

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