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Advocacy for change through youth action


Millennials and Gen Z aren’t sitting idly by while politicians make a change in the political landscape. These young people are getting down to work and taking action.

Gabriel Klaasen, 23, a social and environmental activist from Gatesville, is doing his best to make a difference against the social injustices he saw growing up on Cape Flats.

Klaasen said that as he discovered environmental and climate issues, he realized how important it was to fight for intersectional justice, for a fair and equitable distribution of wealth, opportunity, rights and political power.

Klaasen is the Youth Coordinator of the African Climate Alliance and leads communications for Project 90 by 2030 – an organization working for a sustainably developed and equitable low-carbon future. Lately he has been busy focusing his work on education and capacity building for both groups.

“We want to disseminate and translate information from academics on climate justice so that communities have the resources and knowledge to take action,” he said.

The climate activist who will vote on Monday said he believes voting plays a role in democracy.

“Activism is at the heart of politics. We need to ensure that change occurs on the ground and within politics in a coherent way. “

Klaasen realized at a young age that he had to join the call for activism.

“If I don’t speak out and support the other activists, it would be like giving up before the fight has started.

Klaasen said he does not believe the government takes the future of South African youth seriously.

“My goal is for us to have a future in which social, economic and environmental aspects are secure and well managed, but that might not happen in my lifetime. “

Axolile Notywala encourages young people to vote and actively participate in their municipalities. Image: Supplied

Axolile Notywala, 32, is the national coordinator of the Right2Know campaign, which focuses on freedom of expression and access to information. Notywala has also worked for the Social Justice Coalition, promoting the constitutional rights of South African citizens.

Notywala will vote in the upcoming municipal elections and has said it is important to vote.

“We shouldn’t prioritize voting alone. People should vote but after the elections they have to participate and hold elected officials to account, ”he said.

Notywala said being an activist meant realizing that change won’t happen on its own.

“It is up to us as individuals, society and organizations to be involved in government affairs at all levels. We see how the interventions of these people and organizations have contributed to change within communities. “

He added: “A lot of the changes needed are systemic and structural, which means they won’t happen anytime soon.

Notywala’s priority is to ensure that people have a voice so that they can influence change in their communities.

“With the next election, people are voting for councilors who cannot provide services on their own. It is up to us to participate by calling for transparency and accountability.

Notywala said the participation of young people was essential for the future of South Africa.

“Echoing the words of our former Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, young people must take space and lead. By participating, we are shaping the future of the situation in our country.”

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