Call for justice for environmental defender – Fikile Ntshangase – a year after her murder in South Africa.
On October 22nd last year, Fikile Ntshangase was at home with her grandson Buyile in Ophondweni, Kwazulu-Natal province, South Africa. Three unknown men arrived and shot her dead in her living room.
Fikile was a mother and grandmother, a campaigner, and a leader, who had been opposing the extension of Tendele Coal mine in Northern KZN. Friday the 22nd will mark one year since her brazen and brutal assassination. No arrests have been made.
“We will always remember Fikile courageously standing up against Tendele coal mine’s expansion and voicing the truth. She is gone but her legacy and fight continue.” Kirsten Youens, Attorney, Executive Director, ALL RISE.
We are in the midst of a climate crisis. The South African government has a duty to protect environmental defenders and the crucial work they do in protecting the natural world. Disturbingly, they’ve been silent on Fikile Ntshangase’s murder and the daily dangers faced by other defenders.
The problem extends far beyond South Africa. Last year, Fikile was one of 227 people around the world who lost their lives in 2020 defending their homes, their land and livelihoods, and the ecosystems we all depend on. Environmental defenders have the right to be protected, the right to protest and the right to justice and accountability. Yet we see time and time again that their rights are ignored in favour of corporate interests and industry.
On Friday October 22nd , and Saturday October 23rd, colleagues and members of the public will join Fikile’s family and the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (the community organization that Fikile was part of), in a day of action and a day of remembrance.
“This week takes me back to a time that I would give anything to forget. I miss my mom, my hero and my rock. I pray for justice and peace. I pray for her legacy to live on and that her spirit awakes in us all!” Malungelo Xhakaza, daughter of Fikile Ntshangase.
All Rise and their partners urge South Africa’s parliament and government take active steps to investigate the unsolved murders of Fikile and others who lost their lives – and that other governments across the globe follow suit.
Please join the movement and the march this week in celebrating the lives of defenders like Fikile and demanding justice on the hashtag: #DefendtheDefenders & #JusticeforFikile.
To join the march, visit this link for more information: https://allrise.org.za/we-demand-justice/
Please find photography, graphics and information on Fikile at the links below:
- Join our webinar on the 22nd October 2pm (GMT +2) with Kirsten Youens, Arnold Tsunga, Mary de Haas, Louis Wilson, Mary Lawlor and Rowan Williams as we discuss local and global issues and how we defend the defenders. Facilitate by Simphiwe Sidu. Register for the webinar here.
ALL RISE is a non-profit company, public benefit organisation and registered law clinic with an all women board of directors (executive and non-executive). We are the only pro bono attorneys in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, working exclusively in the environmental field and one of a few in the country. We assist communities and organisations to assert their Constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being. https://allrise.org.za/
Global Witness works to hold companies and governments to account for their destruction of the environment, their disregard for the planet and their failure to protect human rights. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/