[Press release]

  • Artists join call for President Zuma to hold rich Global North countries accountable for starting climate change and to fight for climate justice at Climate Summit in New York on 23rd September
  • Musicians and poets to play #WeLeadYou gig, 19th September, Johannesburg as part of global People’s Climate Mobilisation weekend

JOHANNESBURG: Leading South African musicians and poets today joined forces to launch 350Africa.org’s #WeLeadYou campaign, with a call on President Zuma to show action not words in the fight against climate change.

As the impacts of increased drought, flooding and rising temperatures are felt by many of the poorest communities across the country and continent, government representatives are expected to join other African and world leaders at yet another climate talking shop, the United Nations Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in New York on the 23rd September.

Ferrial Adam, 350 Africa and Arab World Team leader says: “Global leaders have failed us time and again in the fight against climate change. Enough is enough, it is time for action not words. We lead you President Zuma, now it’s your turn to hold the rich countries of the Global North accountable for starting climate change and show climate leadership by choosing clean solar and wind energy over dirty fossil fuels.”

As part of a global People’s Climate Mobilisation weekend, an exclusive #WeLeadYou gig will take place on 19th September at Shikisha in Newtown, Johannesburg and will feature performances by BLK JKS, Lebo Mashile, Nova, Afurakan and poets from the Word N Sound collective and acoustic songstress Nicole Daniella.  A limited 200 free tickets will be available, with winners selected from people who re-tweet #WeLeadYou messages and post their support for the campaign on 350 Africa’s Facebook page.

Leading South African poet Mashile was shocked by how the poorest South Africans are already being hit hardest by climate change.

“This is about fighting for justice because climate change makes poverty worse. From farmers in the Northern Cape suffering more drought to fisher folk drowning because they chase the catch further out to sea as currents change, global warming is destroying our lives. Life is getting even harder for the most vulnerable in our society, especially our mothers and daughters. It’s time for us to show our leaders the way to fight for justice before climate change wrecks millions of lives.”

Campaigners are sending their climate demands direct to President Zuma via Twitter and communities fighting climate change will be coming together to hand a petition of their climate demands to the South African government before the summit.

Mpumelelo Mcata of the BLK JKS said:

“Why is it always the poorest that suffer the most? Enough is enough. We can show solidarity with our brothers and sisters and join #WeLeadYou to call on President Zuma take our climate demands to New York and fight for justice”.

Thabiso Mohare, representing the Word N Sound Live Literature Company said:

“Seriously, more drought, more flooding, these global warming impacts are happening here and now and it’s hurting us. The Word N Sound Collective is joining the fight because we need to give people fighting to survive a voice. First up, the President needs to step it up and make sure the rich countries of the Global North pay for starting climate change.”

Nqobile Cleopatra Shezi, 350 Community Organiser in South Africa says that the country’s addiction to coal has to stop. “We are demanding our leaders to stop signing deals for more climate killers like the Medupi and Kusile power stations” Shezi comments. “We demand solar and wind energy now. We demand affordable solar systems for all. We are dying from impacts of climate change while others are enjoying the profits of fossil fuels.”

Adam concludes, “the rich countries of the Global North started burning fossil fuels 300 years ago but now the whole planet is at risk of catastrophic climate change. South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, DRC, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Jordan and many other countries all have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the West and build smart and socially just economies, that choose clean solar and wind energy over dirty fossil fuels.”

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

#WeLeadYou will take place on 19th September at Shikisha, Miriam Makeba Street, Newtown, Johannesburg


Lebo Mashile


Afurakan (Word N Sound)

Mutle Mothibe (Word N Sound)

Mandi Poefficient (Word N Sound)

Bonga Ndziwande (Word N Sound)

Mutinta Bbenkele (Word N Sound)

Mpho Khosi (Word N Sound)


Free tickets will be made available to selected guests who take part in the #WeLeadYou on-line campaign. You can enter either by:

  • Twitter – follow 350Africa, re-tweet a #WeLeadYou SA gig tweet and send an email to weleadyou@350.org
  • Facebook – like the 350Africa Facebook page then post your message of support to our page with the #WeLeadYou tag and send an email to weleadyou@350.org

Guests will be notified on or before the 18th September and will receive their tickets by email via Web Tickets.