By Ahmad Muto
Vanessa Nakate, a 24-year-old Makerere University Business School (MUBS) alumnus and global climate activist, has appeared on the coveted cover of TIME magazine’s November 8/November 15 issue dubbed the ‘Climate issue.’ Her appearance comes at the height of a fight mounted globally against climate change and she is particularly seeking climate justice for Africa. She has spoken at numerous climate change conferences across the world, most recently at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Italy in September where she got to the podium and accused world leaders of failing to honour funding pledges of $117b a year they made in 2020 to help poor nations. That was shortly before collapsing in tears.
She argued last month, that she saw Uganda Police carrying away a body of someone who had died after they got washed away by heavy storms in Kampala.
In her TIME story of the November issue, she said in 2019, the Rotary Club of Bugolobi asked her to talk to the members about climate change, the first time she addressed Ugandan professionals to raise awareness and put pressure on the Government and private sector.
Ugandans flooded social media upon landing on the cover that issue to share their opinion on climate change and congratulate Nakate.
Former MUBS lecturer, Secretary to the treasury and permanent secretary, minister of finance, Ramathan Ggoobi tweeted: “Super proud of Vanessa of the earth. A Ugandan. A MUBS alumnus.”
Uganda Broadcasting Corporation’s Maurice Mugisha wrote: “TIME magazine features Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate on its cover in the double edition issue dedicated to the Global Climate Fight.”
Nakate via her handle @vanessa_vash tweeted: “I believe that we need to speak out – to break the silence. I see my task as drawing attention to communities that people may not have heard of, where lives are being upended and lost on a daily basis. I am on the cover of @TIME Magazine #UprootTheSystem.”
Veteran journalist Charles Onyango-Obbo tweeted: “She is not the first, but there is one thing. @vanessa_vash will never have to do. She will not have to make up stories when asked what useful thing that benefits humanity she did with her time on this fair earth. Congs.”
The TIME double issue also features American diplomat and climate change activist, John Kerry and Innovator, Ford’s Linda Zhang.
Nakate joins former president, Idi Amin who featured on the cover of the March 7, 1977 issue under the headline ‘The wild man of Africa.” Singer and politician, Bobi Wine in November 2019 made it to the ‘TIME Next 100 Most influential people’ list among others.
By Ahmad Muto