Share Their Story

Gabriel Klaasen, 22

Communications officer and youth co-ordinator
African Climate Alliance

Climate change is affecting the whole world and action must be taken to reduce its negative impact on the planet. Gabriel Klaasen is a leading voice for youth climate action in Cape Town, and is doing his part as a youth climate and social justice activist, working hands-on with communities and the youth on the frontlines. His proudest moment was the success of the 2020 Cape Town global climate action, where he was the key organiser and helped set up and mobilise three separate and successful climate actions in three different communities in Cape Town that aligned with the global climate actions led by Fridays For Future. Driven by his love for his job and contribution to the greater good of the world, Klaasen wants to create the change for a future that is built on intersectional justice. “The impact I want to see is change,” he says.

A great engineer allows criticism and defends his decision at all cost, but above that he still learns from his peers.

Author - Lineo Leteba
Khulekani Ngcobo, 28

Khulekani Ngcobo, 28

Chief executive
Just Green It

Waste management, planting trees, creating awareness and community education on environmental sustainability are just a few of the initiatives driven by Just Green It, a KwaZulu-Natal-based non-profit headed up by Khulekani Ngcobo. While the self-starter says he regrets dropping out of the Durban University of Technology, he is nevertheless finding fulfillment working in his community of Inchanga, educating rural communities about environmental protection and sustainability. Among his goals as chief executive of the organisation, Ngcobo says he hopes to inspire a generation that will work towards creating a country that takes care of the environment. He is fostering relationships with other like-minded organisations in addition to working with local schools and community leaders, and he’s raising funds to keep Just Green It afloat to benefit more people through the organisation’s work.

My vision is to see the Decolonial Mental Health network being a reliable and trust network for all queer and black African people to find relatable and affordable psychotherapy and counselling services.

Sandiso Ngubane |
Natania Botha, 33

Natania Botha, 33

Environmental and social change activist
Indalo Inclusive South Africa

Natania Botha is dedicated to empowering and uplifting people in rural and township areas, as well as protecting and advocating for natural spaces. Her work at Indalo Inclusive South Africa focuses on advocating for green, inclusive and responsible entrepreneurship in South Africa, while her work with Nozibele Princess Zbesh Foundation includes environmental education and solutions for youth development in rural and township areas. Through her determination and her desire to live a purpose-led life, she has earned multiple qualifications and accolades for the work she’s done. She hopes to inspire the youth to be steadfast in their pursuit of their goals and to never give up, and she believes that the solutions to our country’s problems lie in empowering young people.

Never fear failure but rather fear not trying.

Anita Makgetla |
Hayley Clements, 35

Hayley Clements, 35

Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University

Hayley Clements is a researcher in African biodiversity at Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Sustainability Transitions. With funding from the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant and in partnership with biodiversity experts from across Africa, she is developing a Biodiversity Intactness Index that will provide an accurate picture of African biodiversity and help inform sustainable development and conservation policies. In her growing understanding of the interconnectedness of our world, Clements has learnt the value and importance of collaborative work. She believes that by engaging across disciplines and embracing a multitude of perspectives and experiences, we end up with more diverse and relevant solutions to the problems our society and environment face. Clements’s adaptation of traditional roles and disciplines has pushed her research into unforeseen realms, and she hopes her work will inspire and shape how we relate to our world.

It’s okay to pursue a passion that doesn’t have a well-defined career path.

Anita Makgetla |
Angelo Louw, 34

Angelo Louw, 34

Greenpeace Africa digital mobilisation officer and pan-African plastic project lead

Angelo Louw has used his media training and journalism background to bring awareness to the various issues — environmental, social and economic — that marginalise communities. In his role at Greenpeace, he focuses on shifting perceptions of the climate crisis to be more inclusive of the people and communities it affects most. More often than not, it is people of colour who bear the brunt of society’s ills, and Louw’s work goes a long way towards educating audiences of all backgrounds about this fact. His short film highlighting the economic exclusion of Kalk Bay fishermen uses storytelling to create a space for awareness and education. Louw says there is no separation between the personal and the professional, as every issue he tackles affects him directly. His goals are as much about justice and equality as they are about self-preservation.

Dream big, work hard and never underestimate your ability as a young girl.

Tshiamo Seape |