Young climate activist Ayakha Melithafa takes complaint to United Nations

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...


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