AFRICAN VOICES FOR AFRICA’S FUTURE
Name and Surname: Uyapo Majahana
Country of Origin: Zimbabwe
Occupation: Multimedia Environmental Science Journalist
Year of Climate Reality Leadership Corps training: 2020
When were you introduced to the concept of climate change?
I first stumbled upon the concept in 2014 at university. Still, initially, I did not realise the depth of its interlink with social justice issues like poverty, migration, health, and education, among others.
How has climate change impacted you and your community?
Climate change has impacted my rural home, Plumtree, in a myriad of ways. Farming is no longer as conducive as it was when I was growing up. Many of my community members are no longer food secure owing to recurrent droughts. As a result, many have migrated to neighboring countries like South Africa and Botswana, disrupting the community’s social fabric.
Why is taking climate action important to you?
It is essential because the very essence of life as we know it is dependent on climate action. It is only through these simple, small steps that collectively form massive strides that work to guarantee the wellbeing of the environment for present and future generations.
Which climate change issue are you most passionate about?
I believe the most urgent climate change issue that humanity is faced with is rooted in climate change communication, and how it has to be deliberate and consistent in breaking down sophisticated science terms into simple language of everyday life so that people can better understand its impacts and learn more about how to get involved in finding its solutions.
I believe communication has a key role to play in making ordinary citizens understand the necessity for a more circular global economy, which is a move away from a take, make and dispose model of production to a more regenerative economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of scarce resources.
I am also of the opinion that climate change communication specialists should develop creative ways to spotlight how women, who are the repositories of local knowledge, can share their knowledge with the youth. I believe this would be important, particularly at this age, to utilize technology in the documentation and conservations of indigenous knowledge, particularly considering the creative and innovative capabilities of the youth, whose population is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years.
I am also a proponent of the view that climate change communication practitioners have a mandate to expose the obfuscation orchestrated by influential voices positioned in powerful spots to perpetuate environmental injustices on vulnerable and marginalized members of society.
I also believe the versatility and objectivity of climate change communication are crucial in promoting climate change action, awareness, events, and solutions within complementary disciplines, including policymakers, politicians, lawyers, financial professionals.
What interested you in becoming a trained Climate Reality Leader, and what have you gained from it?
During the COVID-19 lockdown, I became more curious, anxious, and frustrated about life in general and what was happening and could happen. My digging led me to climate and environmental issues. I could not believe my luck when I realized that the Climate Reality Leadership Corps would be holding a virtual training in the following weeks, and for free! I was extremely excited at the opportunity to soak myself under the tutelage of climate change experts. I could not wait to meet other curious and like-minded individuals like me.
Tell me about a positive experience you have had at a climate action event you organized or attended?
I am honoured to have been selected among 50 other African journalists to receive training and cover the maiden Global Landscape Forum conference by Climate Tracker.
The conference boasted several experts worldwide discussing various techniques and strategies to restore Africa’s drylands. I thoroughly enjoyed the session on finding creative ways to encourage behaviour change among Africans regarding production and consumption and the importance of consuming indigenous foods. The conference was an eye-opener for me as I learned about the critical catalyst role that gene banks play in preserving and sharing indigenous food crops in Africa while ensuring local communities do not get exploited in the age of Intellectual Property rights and patents.
What do you think is the most important thing that can be done to tackle climate change?
A turn away from a flawed economic system that breeds selfishness, a system that prioritizes profits over the health and well-being of society. That way, the policy would be recalibrated, and we would assign appropriate values on literally everything – like investing in renewables sources of energy and doing away with fossil fuels.
What advice would you give to other Climate Reality Leaders and activists taking climate action in Africa?
Every action counts, no matter how small it might look. Reaching out to one person is still something – pictures taken or not, posted on social media or not. But in the greater scheme of things, we should always remember to rest and recharge our batteries regularly because change and the results we want will not be attained instantly. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
How do you plan to continue with your activism in the year 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I believe this is the year that I forge ahead more rigorously in my activism work using multimedia platforms. I plan to be more active on my Facebook and WhatsApp in creating sound conversational currency around climate change issues. I know I can always count on the African Climate Reality Project team to support and amplify my work.