South Africa

/Tag: South Africa


6 07, 2021

Don’t Ignore the One Group That Can Make Climate Action Happen

2021-07-06T18:30:57-04:00Tags: |

The El Niño cycle is a global climate cycle that occurs every three to seven years with varying intensity. During 2016, this cycle was especially strong and, in combination with climate change, led to widespread drought and hunger for many states in Southern Africa. Women were particularly impacted. This was because they were forced to spend more time gathering scarce water as well as eat less themselves in order to prioritize the nutritional needs of men and children. Increased sex work and child marriages were also a result. And while Southern Africa is now on its way to recovery, building future resilience to climate change means addressing the special vulnerabilities of women as well as prioritizing their leadership. Photo credit: Ish Mafundikwa/IRIN  

13 10, 2017

The Marikana Women’s Fight For Justice, Five Years On

2018-03-02T13:37:41-05:00Tags: |

Sikhala Sonke is a grassroots group of women social justice advocates, who began organizing in response to the tragic events of police violence at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, South Africa. Five years after the tragedy, with no compensation and no end to abuses, the women campaign ongoingly for recognition, safety, and justice in the face of intense, ongoing economic and physical exploitation of mine workers. The mining fields of Marikana offers little to no security at the workplace, poor wages and constant threats of rape and assault for women, in a country where every third South African woman fighting violence against them. Despite the all the challenges, Sikhala women stands in solidarity and support each other to expose injustice and create solutions for healthy and safe livelihoods. Photo Credit: Sikhala Sonke

27 07, 2017

The Dangers Of Being A Defender Of The Environment In South Africa

2017-10-27T01:38:40-04:00Tags: |

Kristen Youens, an attorney specializing in environmental law and justice, examines the threats and intimidation faced by environmental activists in South Africa. Women activists, such as Lebogang Ngobeni from the Fuleni Reserve in Kwazulu-Natal and Nonhle Mbuthuma, spokesperson for the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), are often targeted.. Mining laws make it easy for corporations and businesses to confiscate land and plunder the resources for their benefit. Activists are silenced using tactics such as strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). Environmental defenders receive no protection from authorities, while the perpetrators walk free. Photo credit: Leon Swart

28 03, 2017

Report: No Longer A Life Worth Living

2017-09-21T18:01:04-04:00Tags: |

A team of ten women researchers from the drought-stricken and mining-impacted communities of Somkhele and Fuleni launched the No Longer a Life Worth Living report as part of the Women Building Power initiative. The report emphasizes the impact of drought and subsequent water scarcity, as well as the impact on families and communities of Tendele Mine’s activities related to water access and water pollution. The researchers highlight the failures of the local municipality to address the water challenges faced by these communities and call on the government to revoke water licensing for coal mines in the area. Photo credit: WoMin

30 10, 2016

We Want New Songs: Building A Movement To Dismantle Corporate Power

2018-03-01T12:23:42-05:00Tags: |

The very first Permanent People’s Tribunal was held in 2016 in South Africa, in Swaziland to be precise, and drew over 200 activists from the region to speak about corporate impunity. In a region that is home to some of the worst cases of ecocide and human rights violations from mining companies, the tribunal was a space for solidarity and truth-telling for WoMin alliance affiliated sisters from Somkhele and Fuleni communities in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa to talk about their challenges with coal mining and the resistance they were mounting against these abuses. Photo credit: Stop Corporate Impunity

30 10, 2016

Strike A Rock: Out Of Dust And Iron, The Women Of Marikana Rise

2017-10-30T03:13:41-04:00Tags: |

On August 16th 2012, 37 striking mineworkers from Lonmin Plc demanded better living conditions and an increase in their wages before being brutally gunned down by the South African police. Hundreds were injured in what is now referred to as the Marikana massacre. The documentary “Strike A Rock” brings much-needed needed focus on the lives of women touched by the giant South African mining industry. The film is a story of two South African mothers and best friends, Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana, who formed a women’s organization, Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together) in order to fight for social and economic justice.

30 10, 2016

Women Making Rights Real: Women Building Power

2017-10-30T02:55:37-04:00Tags: |

The Greater Phola Ogies region of South Africa has been impacted by the effects of nearby mining for decades. In response, Yvonne Sampear co-founded and chaired the Greater Photo Ogies Women’s Forum to bring 50 women leaders together to strategize about the challenges they were facing. One such challenge is the Kusile power station, which uses an estimated 17 million tonnes of coal per year, polluting the air and draining the community’s water resources. WoMin’s campaign Women Building Power is supporting the important work of grassroots collectives, including the growing Greater Phola Ogies activist network. Photo credit: WoMin

29 08, 2016

Small Grants Help Women Farmers In South Africa

2017-07-18T00:24:15-04:00Tags: |

Florah Maswanganyi is a small-scale farmer who began by raising chickens. Due to a chronic drought as a result of climate change, Florah’s chickens could not bear the heat and perished. Losing livestock and money each day, Florah decided to apply for a land access application. Florah was successful in obtaining two hectares of land that she has cleared and cultivated on her own, now farming vegetables like butternut squash and beetroot. Photo credit: UN Women/Helen Sullivan

20 07, 2016

From Where I Stand: Lorraine Kakaza

2017-10-17T19:53:09-04:00Tags: |

Lorraine Kakaza is a resident of Carolina, a small South African town near the border with Swaziland. In the UN Women series “From where I stand” she spoke in a series of podcasts about the impacts of local mining on her life as a woman, farmer, and community member. She highlights the difficulty of accessing clean water for irrigation, cooking, and bathing, as well as the links between gender, extractive industries, and universal access to clean water. Photo credit: UN Women/Helen Sullivan

6 01, 2016

South African Women Defend Biodiversity, Seeds

2017-07-17T17:16:53-04:00Tags: |

Indigenous women of Dzomo La Mupo in South Africa are using traditional farming practices and ancestral knowledge to strengthen women’s leadership, fight against the destruction of their land and defend the remaining Indigenous forests from vanishing. Mphatheleini Makaulele, Director of Dzomo la Mupo and member of the African Biodiversity Network, shares vital reflections on the role of women as seed-savers and land stewards in this interview. Photo credit: Mphathe Makauele

18 11, 2015

South African Women Should Fight For 100% Renewable Energy

2017-10-20T23:17:41-04:00Tags: |

In this article, Dr. Yvette Abrahams calls on rural South African women to lead the country into a 100% renewable energy future as a means to mitigate climate change impacts, redirect funds filtering out of the state due to fossil fuel imports, and elevate women’s participation in the local economy. For example, she highlights how women in the Northern Cape’s !Kheis Local Municipality are engaging with their community and receiving a steady wage via training to maintain residential solar systems. Photo credit: AFP

27 10, 2015

Resisting Urban Industrial Emissions In South Africa’s Vaal Triangle

2017-10-27T02:43:16-04:00Tags: |

The Vaal Triangle in South Africa comprises several cities and towns that are responsible for some of the world’s highest carbon-emitting industries. Caroline Npaotane is the co-coordinator of the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance. Along with a dedicated group of activists, Caroline is driving efforts to fight polluting industries. Their work has helped to bring in new air quality standards in the area, and has led to the Vaal Triangle being named as a priority area for climate change mitigation by the government. Photo credit: Thys Dullart

12 10, 2015

Rural Women’s Assembly: What We Do And Who We Are

2021-03-03T20:08:54-05:00Tags: |

The Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA) is a self-organised network of rural women’s movements comprising eight countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The organization launches agricultural campaigns, organizes regional women’s assemblies, lobbies in local and national political settings, and more to defend the agricultural rights of poor, rural women. The RWA focuses on seed conservation and agro-ecological farming to achieve food sovereignty among the local communities they represent. Photo Credit: Video Capture

2 10, 2015

African Women Uniting For Energy, Food And Climate Justice

2017-10-14T16:01:58-04:00Tags: |

In October 2015, the WomIn African Gender and Extractions Alliance brought together 60 women’s rights activists from across the African continent to discuss the meaning of energy, climate, food and ecological justice for African women. This report, published following the meeting in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, discusses the negative social and environmental impacts of fossil fuel extraction and the resulting effects of climate change on women, their livelihoods and their communities. Photo credit:

9 09, 2015

The Black Mambas Win Top U.N. Environmental Award

2017-07-11T17:41:08-04:00Tags: |

Leitah Mkhabela is one of many brave women patrolling the Balule Private Game Reserve as part of South Africa's Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit. The work of the 27-member ranger unit has been honored by the United Nations with the Champions of the Earth Award for their work protecting rhinos, leopards, lions and other precious species. Photo credit:

12 08, 2015

Our Lives Matter: Women Fighting For Water Justice In South Africa

2017-07-17T22:08:54-04:00Tags: |

Women representing the communities of Somkhele and Fuleni in South Africa gathered at a Water Assembly in Kwazulu Natal with a clear message about their experiences of water scarcity. Women in these drought-stricken communities have been heavily impacted by coal mining and extractives industries, resulting in a clear water shortage, along with diminishing livestock and farming opportunities. Supported by WoMin, local women presented a clear set of demands to local stakeholders to inform strategies addressing the water scarcity. Photo credit: Heidi Augestad

29 03, 2015

South African Women Respond To Drought By Creating A Seedbank

2017-07-17T17:42:16-04:00Tags: |

When the agricultural production of the Gumbu Village was affected by climatic changes, such as extreme drought, women in the community didn’t hesitate to take action. Guided by Bioversity International, a group of 40 women now manage and operate a community seed bank, ensuring access to a variety of nutritious crops, protecting biodiversity, supporting their households’ food supply and earning extra income. Photo credit: Women For Expo

1 09, 2013

South African Trust Wins SEED Award For Pioneering Business Project

2017-07-17T18:00:25-04:00Tags: |

The Edakeni Muthi Futhi Trust is a community-based enterprise that cultivates traditional medicinal plants and sells ingredients for herbal remedies in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The main purpose of the enterprise is to create livelihood opportunities for community members in sustainable business, and to generate profits that support community development. Photo credit: SEED

30 10, 2011

Celebrating Women Activists: South Africa’s Mphatheleni Makaulule

2017-10-31T15:00:40-04:00Tags: |

Mphatheleni Makaulule from the VhaVenda tribe of Northern South Africa, in Limpopo province, has dedicated her life to protecting the sacred natural sites and ecosystems in her community as well as reviving Indigenous knowledge and the role of the women chiefs and spiritual leaders known as the Makhadzi. Having built the Luvhola cultural village with the help of her community close to two decades ago, as well as establishing the Dzomo La Mupo committee with local Makahadzis, Mphatheleni’s work challenges the socioeconomic order that oppresses women and nature and forges ahead to build a more egalitarian world. Photo Credit: The Ecologist

18 02, 2010

South Africa Women In Fisheries Statement

2017-10-31T13:21:26-04:00Tags: |

Women leaders representing small-scale fisherfolk in the Northern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa are fighting the legacy of apartheid in the marine sector. During apartheid, the South African government restricted access to marine resources for blacks, harming communities whose livelihoods depended on the sea. Contemporary policy still privileges large commercial operations over fisher-folk. In response, the Masifundise Development Trust organized a forum at which fisherwomen called on the South African government to recognize the unique role of women in small-scale fisheries, ensure that women are compensated fairly, and put forth plans to combat sea level rise and climate change.