Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has urged South Africans to join world faith leaders, political leaders and music stars at an “extraordinary” mass rally and concert at Durban’s King’s Park Stadium on the eve of the COP17 climate change summit.
The archbishop is to host the We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice rally and concert on November 27. At the event he will lead a call to world leaders attending COP17 to reach a fair and legally binding agreement to curb climate change.
Musicians including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Arno Carstens, rap star HHP and Kenyan Gospel rapper Juliani will perform at the rally, which will be free.
Faith leaders including Pope Benedict XVI, British Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams have been invited. Those who cannot attend have been asked to send video clips of support.
Environmental campaigners Lewis Pugh, the “human polar bear”, and Braam Malherbe, a 50/50 presenter, will be among the speakers.
“Apartheid seemed an overwhelming challenge that could not be defeated but we mobilised and defeated it. We need the same passion and determination to defeat climate change,” said Tutu.
“In the face of such a huge threat, many of us feel numb and throw up our hands, believing we can’t make a difference. But we can make a difference – come to the rally.
“It will be an extraordinary event. And if you cannot come, please sign our petition on www. wehavefaithactnow.org
“We want to have over one million signatures on these petitions at the rally to hand over the world leaders.”
At the rally, Tutu will hand the petition to the COP17 chairwoman, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
The “We Have Faith” petition calls on world leaders to commit to a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement, for a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol and for funding to help Africa adapt to climate change.
Pupils from dozens of schools throughout KwaZulu-Natal will take part in the rally, presenting environmentally themed posters and messages to the leaders and performing musical numbers.
For more information, visit www.wehavefaithactnow.org. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter (“COP17ActNow”).