WATCH | Matric student skips school to protest climate change

2020-02-04 12:50
Matric pupil Raeesah Noor-Mahomed skips school every Friday to protest against climate change outside Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg.

Matric pupil Raeesah Noor-Mahomed skips school every Friday to protest against climate change outside Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg. (Nomvelo Chalumbira)

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Matric pupil Raeesah Noor-Mahomed plans to continue missing school on Fridays until the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries declares a climate emergency. 

For the past three weeks, she’s been picketing outside Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg. 

"It was hard on the first day because I was sitting here by myself and very lonely. I almost gave up and went back to class," she told News24.

The 17-year-old learner is following in the footsteps of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

In her free time, Noor-Mahomed attends various climate change protests.

However, after the Australian fires happened in the beginning of this year, she decided it was time to take some drastic measures.

"I have been in contact with the department, they are aware of the boycott and because they are aware of it, they cannot ignore it forever," she said.

In a statement, department spokesperson Albi Modise said that the head of department Barbara Creecy was willing to meet with Noor-Mahomed. 

"However, the minister wants to meet with a bigger forum as she gets many requests to meet with her, with matters regarding the climate. She wants to meet with the young people. We plan to have this broader forum after the budget speech, as we will know what our programmes are," Modise added.

Some of Noor-Mahomed's demands include the banning of single-use plastics, the use of recycled paper or digital platforms, and the use of solar power at government-owned buildings and public places.

The grade 12 student remains adamant that she will continue her boycott indefinitely even at the risk of her academics. 

"The situation is too dire to only think about me and my future because I may not have a future if climate change continues the way it is, and the governments are doing nothing," she said. 

Parktown High School for Girls could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education  |  protests  |  environment  |  climate change
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