As The Need For Global Climate Action Increases, Inner-city Youth Learn To Use Art As Their Weapon Of Choice

Artivism Workshop Image 1 - As The Need For Global Climate Action Increases, Inner-city Youth Learn To Use Art As Their Weapon Of Choice

With less than a month to prepare for what may be the biggest global climate strike action to date – scheduled for Friday 20 September – 350 Africa and HoneyBush Communications will host its first-ever Youth Artivism Workshop, at Community House in Salt River on 24 August from 9am – 4pm. Through the workshop – which seeks to raise awareness about climate change among the youth of Cape Town and the country at large – facilitators/artists will demonstrate the use art as a medium for reflection on how to address these issues.

According to Saba Zahara, Creative Director at HoneyBush Communications and the event organiser, “The workshop is particularly targeted to youngsters from historically disadvantaged communities, who are often disengaged from issues such as climate change. Sadly, as a result of the daily challenges they face – such as poverty, drugs and gangsterism – our youngsters are not being included as part of the solution. In many ways, our communities are on the outskirts of the ‘Green Movement’ in this country. Through this event, however, we hope to bridge this gap because climate change is affecting all of us and poorer communities are the ones who will suffer most.”

“Through this milestone event, we hope to stimulate not only creativity in our youth, but we also hope to give them a voice and develop their desire to become active and responsible citizens who are adequately informed and equipped to address this current state of emergency. Furthermore, we want to show them the power of art as a tool for activism,” says Zahara.

This year, youth around the world have been at the centre of the climate conversation by raising awareness through platforms like the ‘Climate Strikes’ and ‘Fridays for Future’ protests. During the State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa remarked on the presence of youth-led climate protests at the Union Buildings, saying that unless we take extraordinary measures, we will not realise Vision 2030. “This means that we need to prioritise. We need to focus on those actions that will have the greatest impact, actions that will catalyse faster movement forward,” adds Zahara.  

The workshop will explore – through selected artistic mediums – issues of current importance, such as renewable energy versus coal, organic food versus genetically modified food, as well as plastic pollution and water justice.

“Art is a powerful medium and changed my life, giving a voice to the chaos inside of me. We are living through a climate and social emergency and our youth must be involved in the revolution. We need to step aside as adults and let the young learn to lead, because the elders continue to make selfish decisions that destroy the planet, which in turn will affect their future livelihoods,” says Zahara.

During this workshop, artists and activists – including radical eco-warriors, cultural and creative experimentalists, art schools, and a few organisations – will mentor and art jam with the youth and community members at a variety of break-away stations. They will explore different ways to artistically express their understanding of the dangers of climate change and other environmental concerns, how they impact society and contribute towards real-life challenges. This includes visual art, performance art and possibly craft mediums. 

Alex Lenferna, Climate Justice Campaigner for 350 Africa says, “We want to be part of the solution. What we need from the government is a clear and ambitious plan to urgently address climate change under the auspices of a global climate emergency. As Africa’s biggest carbon emitter, South Africa needs rigorous energy policies that will facilitate reducing our footprint and preserving the planet for future generations.’

The event will also include an outdoor mural painting initiative at Community House – led by Western Cape-based street artist Prefix 66 – as well as a pop-up film festival on Water Justice, hosted by the Athlone Cultural Hub. These activities will run concurrently to the break-away group sessions. In addition to this, a DJ will also host an open-mic session – themed around ‘Songs for the Earth’ – for children to create and perform songs and poetry.

The public is requested to bring any recyclable material to Community House, prior to the event, for use on the day. For more information about the workshop, contact Saba Zahara and Jill Honeybush on +27 (0) 84 0776630 or email to

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