Vanessa Nakate

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Vanessa Nakate
Born (1996-11-15) 15 November 1996 (age 23)
EducationMakerere University Business School
Years active2018–present
Known forClimate activism
Home townKampala, Uganda

Vanessa Nakate (born November 15, 1996) is a Ugandan climate justice activist.[1] She grew up in Kampala and started her activism in December 2018 after becoming concerned about the unusually high temperatures in her country.[2]


Nakate graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Marketing from Makerere University Business School.[3]

Actions for the climate[edit]

Inspired by Greta Thunberg to start her own climate movement in Uganda, Nakate began a solitary strike against inaction on the climate crisis in January 2019.[4] For several months she was the lone protester outside of the gates of the Parliament of Uganda.[3] Eventually, other youth began to respond to her calls on social media for others to help draw attention to the plight of the Congolian rainforests.[5] Nakate founded the Youth for Future Africa and the likewise Africa-based Rise Up Movement.[6]

In December 2019, Nakate was one of a handful of youth activists to speak at the COP25 gathering in Spain.[7]

In early January 2020, she joined around 20 other youth climate activists from around the world to publish a letter to participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling on companies, banks and governments to immediately stop subsidizing fossil fuels.[8] She was one of five international delegates invited by Arctic Basecamp to camp with them in Davos during the World Economic Forum; the delegates later joined a climate march on the last day of the Forum.[9]


In a 2019 interview with Amy Goodman for Democracy Now!, Nakate expressed her motivation for climate action: "My country heavily depends on agriculture, therefore most of the people depend on agriculture. So, if our farms are destroyed by floods, if the farms are destroyed by droughts and crop production is less, that means that the price of food is going to go high. So it will only be the most privileged who will be able to buy food. And they are the biggest emitters in our countries, the ones who will be able to survive the crisis of food, whereas most of the people who live in villages and rural communities, they have trouble getting food because of the high prices. And this leads to starvation and death. Literally, in my county, a lack of rain means starvation and death for the less privileged".[10]


In January 2020, the Associated Press news agency cropped Nakate out from a photo she appeared in featuring Greta Thunberg and activists Luisa Neubauer, Isabelle Axelsson, and Loukina Tille after they all attended the World Economic Forum.[11][12] Nakate accused the media of a racist attitude.[12] The Associated Press later changed the photo and indicated there was no ill intent, without presenting its apologies.[13] On January 27, 2020, AP executive editor Sally Buzbee tweeted an apology using her personal account saying that she was sorry on behalf of the AP.[14]


  1. ^ Urra, Susana; Kitson, Melissa (6 December 2019). "'Greta Thunberg in Madrid: "I hope world leaders grasp the urgency of the climate crisis"". El País. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  2. ^ Hanson, James (28 October 2019). "3 young black climate activists in Africa trying to save the world". Greenpeace UK. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b Kisakye, Frank (30 May 2019). "22-year-old Nakate takes on lone climate fight". The Observer. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  4. ^ Feder, J. Lester; Hirji, Zahra; Müller, Pascale (7 February 2019). "A Huge Climate Change Movement Led By Teenage Girls Is Sweeping Europe. And It's Coming To The US Next". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  5. ^ Jenkins, Carla (25 November 2019). "Glasgow student follows Greta Thunberg with 30 day climate crisis strike". Glasgow Times. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  6. ^ Bort, Ryan (23 January 2020). "A Rolling Stone Roundtable With the Youth Climate Activists Fighting for Change in Davos". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Climate change: What's Greta been saying at the COP25 conference in Madrid?". BBC. 7 December 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  8. ^ Thunberg, Greta (10 January 2020). "At Davos we will tell world leaders to abandon the fossil fuel economy". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  9. ^ Sengupta, Somini (24 January 2020). "Greta Thunberg Joins Climate March on Her Last Day in Davos". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  10. ^ Nakate, Vanessa (12 December 2019). "Uganda's First Fridays for Future Climate Striker, Vanessa Nakate, Joins COP25 Protests in Madrid". Democracy Now! (Interview). Interviewed by Amy Goodman. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  11. ^ Evelyn, Kenya (25 January 2020). "Outrage at whites-only image as Uganda climate activist cropped from photo". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Vanessa Nakate: Climate activist hits out at 'racist' photo crop". BBC News. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  13. ^ Easton, Lauren (24 January 2020). "AP statement on cropped photo". AP Definitive Source. Associated Press. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  14. ^ Buzbee, Sally [@SallyBuzbee] (27 January 2020). "Vanessa, on behalf of the AP, I want to say how sorry I am that we cropped that photo and removed you from it. It was a mistake that we realize silenced your voice, and we apologize. We will all work hard to learn from this. @vanessa_vash" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 February 2020 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]