Saturday, 26 November 2011

Crunch Time As Caravan of Hope Arrives in Pretoria, South Africa

This Piece is being written on our way to Durban at around 9.30pm on the 25th November, 2011. It has been a relaxed day today. As we drive for the next 6 hours, we realize we are about to descend on Durban and crescendo what has been a spirited campaign. This morning over 100 caravanites from the Trans African Caravan of Hope chanted demands outlined in the Africa People’s Petition as they waved placards and patriotically held their country flags high. This was outside the Union Building in Pretoria. 

During the meeting the continental coordinator Mithika Mwenda urged South Africa ‘not to let Africa down during this COP17.’ The group then picked on that and chanted it out with the realization that COP17 is just a few hours to kick off. The Caravan of Hope is travelling over 7000 kms by road to Durban, South Africa. The caravanites have witnessed what climate change has done in the continent including increase of temperatures in all the countries we visited like Kenya which also played a hand in the drought and famine that the country experienced early in the year, heard about Zimbabwe’s Veld fires, Uganda’s mudslides, Zambia’s late harvest due to delay of rains among others. The list is endless. 

This group presents a cocktail of the true reflection of Africa. Here we have farmers, youth, scouts, womens groups, religious representation, civil society, government delegations. These people come from both rural and urban area representation. 

Africa is diverse. For her to be heard during this COP17, diversity must be her strength. 

I remember a woman farmer in Zimbabwe saying, ‘Go and be our voices since we cannot come. Make sure we are heard.’ I just don’t know how many times l have heard that. It is the realization that sinks in to everyone aboard that this COP17 must count for Africa. Like Mithika said in one of the flag offs, ‘Kyoto Must not die in South Africa.’

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