By Fatima Vally
As the world barrels towards a future fraught with climate uncertainty, the call for a radical shift to cleaner, sustainable energy sources grows louder. But let’s strip away the illusions – this transition isn’t a mere exchange of fossil fuels for renewables. It’s a dismantling of deep-rooted injustices, an insistence on justice woven into every thread of change.
Picture this: rural women, shoulders weighed down by the invisible burdens of tradition and patriarchy, navigating a world where household chores, childcare, and eldercare are their daily dues. They’re warriors, no doubt, but they’re also locked out of education, healthcare, and economic avenues that could break their chains. These hurdles aren’t just roadblocks; they’re brick walls hindering women’s access to energy resources that could redefine their lives.
In the heart of rural landscapes and mining areas across South Africa, Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA), a social movement of unyielding women is steadily growing. WAMUA is challenging the norms, rattling the cages, and demanding women’s rightful place at the table where energy futures are determined.
Traditional biomass energy supplies are a lifeline for rural women, but they’re also a one-way ticket to respiratory diseases. It’s an ironic twist of fate that while women in households are custodians of their families’ well-being, their own health takes a back seat. But WAMUA is not settling for irony. WAMUA mission? To transition from being recipients of unjust energy norms to architects of change. WAMUA is demanding pathways to cleaner, safer energy alternatives, not just for marginalised mining-affected communities, but for the generations that will follow in their wake.
WAMUA is paving a way where justice isn’t just a word, but a living, breathing reality. Black rural women’s empowerment isn’t just a side story; it’s a crucial chapter in the narrative of a just energy revolution. As renewable power grids emerge and green technologies advance, the real power lies in women in the global south and indigenous communities uniting, voicing, and propelling change that’s sustainable in every sense.