Saturday, 26 November 2011

Caravan Brief - Trans African Caravan of Hope Opening Ceremony Held in Kwa Zulu Natal University

We shall shout it loud. We must be heard
I am writing this piece from Kwa Zulu Natal University where we are meeting with all the caravanites who have travelled over 7000 kilometers to be here.I am sitted right at the back observing the whole room. It is electric with ululating women accompanied by chanting crowds. Watch the video

They listened attentively
Just outside a while ago, the caravanites chanted...Climate Justice Now,Kyoto Must Not Die.

A leader spoke urging the group to reject Carbon Markets. 'We don't want Carbon Markets.We don't want Offsets.' The cause of climate change, he said, is global warming by fossil fuels. He led the crowd chanting, 'Leave the Oil in the Soil and the Coal in the Hole.' He urged President Zuma and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, must listen to the voice of the people.

Now back to the hall where we are meeting. TBoy from Zambia is singing his heart out against the impacts of climate change. The crowd is on its feet. Others clapping, waves from flags of representative coutnries with voices so loud.  Just before that we had a couple of off the cuff speeches.

Prof Patrick Bond, Director at Kwa Zulu Natal and also an economist said, 'You have taken the sacrifice and really worked on this. COP17 they are on the 4degrees target. They have have to bring it down to 1degrees. By December 9th if it is a conference of polluters. It means no carbon trading no REDD.We must leave the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole. We must leave Durban in a way we have never seen. We are going to come and educate. This is the right place to educate because it is a university.'

Participants watching a video
The once Bolivia Chief Negotiator said, 'what is going to be discussed here is that debt shall be increased more than 40%. If this happens Africa will suffer more than 8degrees Celsius increase,' he passionately said. He added, 'We want to stop the ecocide. Over 350,000 people die because of causes of Climate Change. Imagine a world that increases with 4degrees Celsius and an Africa that increases with 8degrees Celsius. They are burning and selling Africa.' He said that if Africa doesn't fight here in Durban the rest of the continent will be wondering what happened to us.

So far, the Trans African Caravan of Hope activists have collected over 2million signatures across the continent.

Joe of Action Aid International said, 'Our governments will not do what they need to do. The people need to tell the people that this is not going to be allowed to happen.' She said that she felt hopeful when she saw crowds of people who came chanting up the road with a lot of energy.That is what the caravanites have displayed inspite of lack of sleep for the last 36 hours. 

Africa is United
Mohamed Lamin from Oxfam Senegal assured the caravanites that West Africa had been following the Caravan of Hope. 'We will change the way negotiators take over,' he said while adding that, 'If you want to succeed in life bring people together. Your direction is the right direction.' 

Mithika Mwenda, continental coordinator of PACJA thanked partners who were working the alliance to ensure that this event was a success. He had a message for President Obama, 'US should not think that they are giving us charity. We know Obama is coming.Let us stay alert so that we can baptize him with fire.We are going to baptize our leaders with fire too if they joke.'


  1. Help me understand the alternatives to 'Leave the Oil in the Soil and the Gold in the Hole.' and 'We don't want Carbon Markets.We don't want Offsets.'

    I want to be in sync with you guys.

  2. What on Earth Happened? Feb 2000 Floods hit Mozambique and left many displaced, April 2001 George Bush refused to endorse the Kyoto Protocol, Nov 2002the Prestige Oil Tanker spill oil (77 000-tonnes) off the coast of Spain causing a worst oil spills, AUG 2003 A Heat wave spread over EU killing dozens, Dec 2004 a huge earth quake strikes the coast of Sumatra resulting in a tsunami that kills and flooded towns in 11 countries, including Indonesia, the Maldives, Sir-Lanka and Thailand, Aug 2005 Hurricane Katrina strikes causing major flooding and killing many innocent lives. It kept on and on until 2011. Remember there is only one planet, there is no Planet B. Take good care of Mother Earth, our lives depends on her.