South Durban Community Environmental Alliance activist Tristan Meek puts the finishing touches on colleague Amahle Mbili who, with Amahle Nkabinde, centre, and Sinethemba Ndlovu, left, represented people who have died because of environmental disasters. Duncan Guy
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance activist Tristan Meek puts the finishing touches on colleague Amahle Mbili who, with Amahle Nkabinde, centre, and Sinethemba Ndlovu, left, represented people who have died because of environmental disasters. Duncan Guy

Youth leads Earth Day event

By Duncan Guy Time of article published Apr 24, 2021

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Durban - Poetry and singing on the steps of the Durban City Hall marked Earth Day at an event driven by the youth of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA).

Placards that denounced fossil fuels and nuclear power and promoted clean energy included topical lines such as ’’I Can’t Breathe’’.

They also called for people to better protect the planet, so the next generation could have a future. Wentworth resident Vanessa Blackburn spontaneously led everyone in song, singing We Are The World, We Are The Children, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.

The topical line “I can’t breathe”, from the George Floyd murder in the US, made its way into this week’s Earth Day event in Durban to highlight air pollution. Duncan Guy
Wentworth resident Vanessa Blackburn leads Earth Day protesters in singing We Are The World; We Are The Children. Duncan Guy
Artist Crosby Luhlongwane of the Mariannridge-based environmental organisation Green Thumb Society performs at the Earth Day protest at the City Hall. Duncan Guy

Artists Crosby Luhlongwane and Nkosiyapha Hlela, of the Mariannridge-based environmental organisation Green Thumb Society, reminisced in their lyrics about stories their grandparents told about a more sustainable environment, along with lines such as “keep the oil in the soil’’ and ”there’s more to life than silver and gold’’.

A trio of young activists lay on the hard paving, surrounded by emergency tape, to represent people who had lost their lives to environmental disasters, such as the storm of October 10, 2017, that struck the city.

The event on Thursday morning, which saw messages to the government to not ignore communities, went out on a live stream on the SDCEA Facebook page.

’’I think the youth can come up with solid tactics,’’ said SDCEA youth activist Mvuzo Ntombela.

’’We are more driven by technology. Our technological tools can give South African youth more strategies to tackle this issue, starting here in KZN.’’

Ntombela said the youth in the organisation had learnt a lot from leaders such as Desmond d’Sa.

D’Sa said there would be further events in the wake of Earth Day, stressing climate change, at Cuttings Beach on Sunday and at Scottburgh on Tuesday.

The Independent on Saturday

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