‘The Arch’ dazzles small audience at climate concert

2011-11-28 00:00

THE Climate Justice rally and concert at King’s Park Stadium, Durban, was poorly attended yesterday, but guest of honour Archbishop Desmond Tutu wowed the crowd of around 2 000 with his typical charm.

The stadium seats 90 000.

“Thank you for your role in our struggle against apartheid, a vicious, vicious system. But now we are facing another huge enemy that no single nation can fight,” said Tutu.

Tutu said the world in unison needs to prepare for the battle against global warming and climate change.

“Whether you are rich or poor, this is our home and God wanted you to take care of it,” he said to the applause of an emotional crowd at the stadium.

Among A-list South African performers were Ladysmith Black Mambazo, HHP, Arno Carstens and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

A petition signed by various religious leaders in Africa will be handed to the United Nations for forwarding.

The concert attracted a strong Shembe presence and members of other religious bodies, including the Hare Krishna Association, Christians, Hindus and those of the Islamic faith.

The executive secretary UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Secretariat, Christiana Figueres, cried yesterday when she thanked religious organisations for their contribution to fighting climate change. “We have heard your voice and your prayers. Don’t give up, continue with your prayers,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Many foreigners who are visiting the city to attend COP17 came out in strong support of Tutu at the concert with placards reading: “We are Tutu’s deal makers”.

A petition was handed over with 200 000 signatures from five African countries to COP17 president Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Figueres, as the chant “we have faith” resounded through the stadium.

The Witness spoke to concert-goer Claire Barrett-Lennard of the Anglican Eco-Care Commission in Australia. “I’m completely overwhelmed by the sense of community and the sincere concern for the environment shown by people of South Africa and I feel that it’s the responsibility of every human being to be personally accountable for the wellbeing of our planet.

“Desmond Tutu is my personal hero and has shown how simplicity and humility can equate to super-stardom,” she said.

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