Lead SALead SA

Young climate activist Ayakha Melithafa takes complaint to United Nations

Written by: Zanele Zama

Sixteen teenagers from across the globe presented a groundbreaking 100-page legal complaint to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child last week.

The petitioners allege that UN member states’ failure to tackle the climate crisis constitutes a violation of child rights.

One of them is Cape Town's Ayakha Melithafa, who called for an immediate moratorium on the extraction of coal, oil and gas in South Africa.

The grade 11 student is part of the Project 90 by 2030 YouLead initiative and is also a recruitment officer and a spokesperson for the African Climate Alliance, a youth-led climate advocacy group.

Speaking to Azania Mosaka, Malithafa says she wants more people to be climate literate.

I was very fortunate in grade 10 when my teacher told us about Project 90. That is when I knew that this is my mission and it is what I want to do in life.

Ayakha Melithafa, Young climate change activist 

I want to make every single person aware of climate change, especially people of colour who are suffering and the poor and vulnerable, and make sure they are climate aware and climate literate.

Ayakha Melithafa, Young climate change activist 

Melithafa outlines the demands they are making to the South African government.

We want the government to declare a provincial and national state of emergency... mandatory primary education and curriculum in all schools on climate change.

Ayakha Melithafa, Young climate change activist 

Listen to the full interview below...


This article first appeared on 702 : Young climate activist Ayakha Melithafa takes complaint to United Nations




Read next from articles

Climate change: Searching for a balanced view

Climate change: Searching for a balanced view

The Conversation Australia and NZ, Misha Ketchell and The Daily Maverick's Ivo Vegter in a measured and insightful discussion.
Read on...

'Planet over profit' - Cape Town and Joburg join global climate strike

'Planet over profit' - Cape Town and Joburg join global climate strike

Demonstrators have gathered in Johannesburg and Cape Town, marching in solidarity with young protesters across the world.
Read on...

How climate change is impacting financial institutions

How climate change is impacting financial institutions

Professor at UP Danny Bradlow says climate change will affect the stability of the financial sector Internationally.
Read on...

[LISTEN] Teaming up to put old devices to good use

[LISTEN] Teaming up to put old devices to good use

Yolandi Strauss from Black Beard Technology says the initiative with GirlCode will also get girls into coding.
Read on...

Full marks for teacher who nurtured a love for chemistry and physics

Full marks for teacher who nurtured a love for chemistry and physics

William Smith, who was awarded the Order of the Baobab in Silver this week, joins Azania in the studio for the Friday Profile.
Read on...

Nthabeleng Likotsi is on course to establishing SA's first women-owned bank

Nthabeleng Likotsi is on course to establishing SA's first women-owned bank

Likotsi explains the vision for the bank which comes off the back of YWBN - a co-operative financial institution.
Read on...