Ayakha Melithafa

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Ayakha Melithafa is a seventeen-year-old South African environmental activist from Eerste River in the Western Cape.[1][2][3][4]


Melithafa is a student at the Centre of Science and Technology in Khayelitsha.[5]

Climate activism[edit]

Melithafa was one of 16 children, including Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, Carl Smith, and Catarina Lorenzo to file a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for failing to adequately address the climate crisis.[6][7][8][9]

Melithafa also contributes to the Project 90 by 2030 YouLead initiative, a South African organisation committed to a 90% reduction in carbon by 2030[10] and serves as a recruitment official for the African Climate Alliance.[1]

In particular, Melithafa advocates for the inclusion of diverse voices in climate activism:

"It’s very important for poor people and people of colour to go to these protests and marches because they are feeling the wrath of climate change the most. It’s important for them to have a say, for their voice and their demands to be heard." --- Ayakha Melithafa[5]


  1. ^ a b "#ChildrenVsClimateCrisis". childrenvsclimatecrisis.org. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  2. ^ Sengupta, Somini (2019-09-20). "Meet 8 Youth Protest Leaders". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  3. ^ Feni, By Sandisiwe Shoba, Zoë Postman, Thamsanqa Mbovane and Masixole (2019-09-20). "South Africans come out in support of #ClimateStrike". GroundUp News. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  4. ^ Singh, Maanvi; Oliver, Mark; Siddique, Haroon; Zhou, and Naaman; Giuffrida, Angela; Willsher, Kim; Burke, Jason (2019-09-21). "Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – as it happened". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  5. ^ a b Knight, Tessa. "OUR BURNING PLANET: Cape Town teen climate activist Ayakha Melithafa takes drought to the UN". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  6. ^ "16 Young People File UN Human Rights Complaint on Climate Change". Earthjustice. 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  7. ^ "'We Want to Show Them We Are Serious': 16 Youth Activists File Suit Against Major Nations for Failing to Act on Climate Crisis". Common Dreams. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  8. ^ Goldhill, Olivia. "While global leaders messed around, Greta Thunberg and 15 kids got down to business". Quartz. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  9. ^ Hausfeld (2019-09-23). "16 Young People File UN Human Rights Complaint on Climate Change". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  10. ^ 2030. "About - Project 90 By 2030". Retrieved 2019-09-23.