We recently celebrated the activist life of Steve Bantu Biko who, on the 12th of September 1977, died in police custody as a result of 22 hours of brutal police torture and interrogation. His life and death are some of the reasons that I live peacefully in the new South Africa, the Rainbow Nation.
Dying in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, Biko was a true young lion of his time. His relentless pursuit for justice is one of the motivating factors that brought me to Greenpeace Africa. We as the young lions of today seeking environmental justice, must draw on the courageous activist spirits of people like Steve Biko as we demand that our leaders and governments begin an Energy [R]evolution.
We must remain firm in our belief that renewable energy is key to a clean and sustainable future; and in our belief that activism is not a crime. If the need arises, we must, as non-violent young lions, engage in civil disobedience that will ensure that a future independent of coal and unsustainable practices is achieved.
Steve Biko gave his life in the pursuit for justice; Kumi Naidoo is in the process of giving the rest of his life in the pursuit for justice. As the launch date for the new Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior III, draws closer, I urge all young lions to play their part in the pursuit for environmental justice. After all, the future belongs to us, our children and their children - the young lions of tomorrow.
I must also salute the young lions of today who will be on board the Rainbow Warrior III on her maiden voyage. Fenton, Seychelle, Harmony, Helene, Pablo, Brikesh , Rebecca and Sean - I say to you that your work in environmental activism is beyond measure and the truly planet needs you.
We are confident that the Rainbow Warrior III will take environmental activism to the next level - one that will pressure our governments and leaders, the old Lions, to put an end to illegal fishing, deforestation and the addiction to coal and other fossil fuels.
A revolutionary mast system is raised on the new Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior III at the Fassmer shipyard in Berne, near Bremen. The highly efficient 55m high A-Frame mast system, created by the famous Dutch naval architecture firm Dijkstra and Partners, can carry far more sail than a conventional mast of the same size and is the first time this design has been installed on a vessel of the Rainbow Warrior’s size. The Rainbow Warrior is Greenpeace's first purpose-built vessel and will be officially launched in Autumn 2011.
Credit: © Oliver Tjaden / Greenpeace