Several hundred people of all ages, races and affiliations gathered near the South African Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Friday to join the global call for more action against climate change.
“Act now or there will be hell and high water” and “Don’t be a fossil fool” were some of the messages adorning posters as the sweltering heat seemed to beat down its own warning.
A giant papier mache sun, a bird puppet with fiery wings, stilt walkers and a schoolboy in a panda suit added to the festive atmosphere of the peaceful march.
Teen activists Tariro Banganayi and Natalie Kapsosideris pleaded with the crowd to put more pressure on a government, which they claim is “stealing the youth’s future.”
South Africa has been criticised for its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.
Earlier this year, the town of Kriel in the north-eastern province of Mpumalanga was named in a Greenpeace report as being the second-worst sulphur dioxide pollution hotspot in the world.
Trade unions, representing the workers of large companies accused of putting profits before pollution also attended the march.
These companies “pay high taxes to the government” and so have “massive influence,” said Banganayi, adding that it is the poorest people, who will be most affected by the crisis.
According to the UN, Africa will be severely affected by a “warming world,” which will have implications on rainfall and temperature.
West Africa is a climate change hotspot, with the Sahel region possibly the most affected area in the world, according to the report.
Similar marches took place in Uganda and Kenya on Friday.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Silas Nwoha