Land activists Cebile Dlamini and Bethusile Dlamini from the Swaziland Rural Women’s Assembly in Manzini Village are attending the C17 at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Their motto is “Guardians of Land, life and love”. Mongalo Henrietta (Ngulunews, Sekhukhune, Limpopo) and Phumza Sithole (Rainbow News, Butterworth , Eastern Cape) spoke to them.
Q: Why are you attending COP17?
We are here because this is a very important meeting of people from all over the world who are going to discuss a serious problem that is affecting our lives. What we eat comes from nature and climate change affects nature and, therefore, affects also what we eat.
Q: What do you hope to achieve at this meeting?
For us, this is a networking session. We are going to meet rural women from other countries. They will give us information of how they solved their crisis. We will also have an opportunity to learn about different crops which can sustain us that maybe we can plant. Maybe our methods of planting etc. are not good, and then they will advise us.
Q: Do you think what you are expecting is practical? Are you hopeful that you will achieve what you came here for?
We are hopeful that we will be able to achieve our aim from COP17. As we said, many people will be here and we will exchange information and share our experiences.
Q: What problems do you have with climate change?
We survive on farming. In the recent years, our crop yield has gone down. Our maize is not big anymore. The corn is small and we believe it is as a result of climate change. The rain does not rain as expected. We used to know which months are rainy seasons and plan our crop production. Recently, things have changed. Rains are irregular and it rains whenever, however, making it difficult to plan our production.
Q: How does climate change affect you in the area where you live?
In Swaziland there is serious economic crisis. We need to boost our agriculture so that we can have food. Small scale farmers must be able to sustain their farms to make sure that we stop poverty. Climate change is affecting us badly because it is a threat to our farms and our source of food and income.