Not long ago, we reported that a number of residents of rural South African villages will be watching the World Cup via solar power, thanks to SolarWorld Africa. Now, Greenpeace is extending that opportunity to residents of Jericho, a village near Johannesburg where grid power is often hard to come by or unreliable, via a new solar-powered public viewing area equipped by Greenpeace Africa and constructed by local youth.
According to a release, a large-screen TV powered entirely by solar panels and generators and erected by schoolchildren (specially trained by Greenpeace for the task) has been set up in Jericho’s community hall. The event, entitled the Thangkollo ya Solar (Solar Kick Off) project, is an example of Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution campaign, designed to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy sources in South Africa. The solar-powered viewing area was officially launched on Youth Day, an official South African holiday honoring the deaths of hundreds of schoolchildren who engaged in a peaceful march against the use of the Afrikaans language as the medium of instruction in black schools, changing the course of the country’s history. The riots that ensued in the wake of the killings were instrumental in bringing an end to apartheid.
“What the Jericho project shows is that South Africa doesn’t have to rely on outdated methods to literally empower its people. The country has some of the best renewable energy sources in the world in the form of sun and wind,” said Nkopane Maphiri, Greenpeace Africa’s climate campaigner, in a statement. In relation to the day chosen for the launch, he notes, “It’s because of these numerous aspects that Greenpeace aligns itself with the youth and old people of Jericho, some of whom were present during the activism days against apartheid.”