In the next few days, Heads of State will convene in Durban, South Africa for the COP17 UN Climate Summit. This meeting has attracted a lot of activity and united a number of civil organisations and individuals to work collectively for a legally binding deal out of this meeting.
This process, however, is perceived with mixed feelings by different people.
Mazoe Gondwe a woman farmer from the Malawian Women farmer’s coalition has very high expectations from this meeting that, for the first time, is convening in the continent bearing the brunt of the negative effects of climate change. Mazoe Gondwe believes that the African woman will be listened to this time.
The African woman is a mother, worker, gardener, wife, care giver, not forgetting that she needs time for herself! ...The burden to put food on the table is on us
she said while speaking on behalf of the Women Farmers Coalition in Malawi after a 7km solidarity walk through Lilongwe Town for climate justice on 19th November.
70% of the thousands of people gathered were women. They have come to share their solidarity with the Trans African Climate Caravan of Hope from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and now Malawi.
Mazoe believes that the governments who are the actual negotiators during COP17 are very well aware of their individual country’s problems. However, her greatest fear for the outcome of this meeting is that the African leaders will forget the people they represent while negotiating.
“I keep hopeful“, she says as she commended the impact and role of the Caravan of Hope in awareness creation but also in building the solidarity of the African continent.
Even when people, and in particular African women, are so badly affected by climate change effects it did not stop them from dancing to the music played by one of the most popular bands in Malawi, Black Missionaries as cyclists lead the procession of the caravan off to Zambia.