Politics & Government
We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership
Tara Roos, 19, is the head of youth policy at We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership and the Youth Policy Committee for the South African Institute of International Affairs, where she works on the development of documents such as the South African Youth Climate Plan and the Global Youth Climate Agenda.
She was a part of the South African Young Leaders cohort in 2022 and helped write the South African Young Leaders Declaration. Her dedication to climate justice and gender equality is evident in her work, and she was a finalist in the South African young leaders research symposium for her research paper on how consumer behaviour can combat the climate crisis.
Tara represented South Africa on a national and international stage as a government youth delegate at various conferences such as COP26, COP27 and The World Science Forum, among others. She is also a member of the Chatham House Young African Leaders programme.
Tara aims to bridge the gap between the youth and the government and the decisions that are being made. “I am driven to excel because I know that we have to work twice as hard as others just to be taken seriously, to overcome the stereotypes, and to be seen as an equal,” she says.
Matriculated from Wynberg Girls High School in 2022, currently taking a gap year and plan to pursue a BA (Law) from next year.
- Finalist in Global Changers Recoupling Awards 2023
- Finalist in the South African Young Researchers Symposium 2022 for my paper on how consumer behaviour can combat the climate crisis
- South African National Model United Nations Debate champion
- South African Youth Representative (COP26, COP27, World Science Forum, Brics Youth Innovation Summit, CREA Feminist Conference
- Writing credits on: Global Youth Climate Agenda, South African Youth Climate Action Plan, South African Young Leaders Declaration, Youth Statement on the Presidential Climate Commission’s Framework for a Just Transition (2022), South African Youth COP27 Statement, South African Youth COP26 Statement
I was born to a single mother who, at a very young age, gave up her life and dreams to raise me. This became my driving force; she was there from every dance competition to every awards ceremony. And it became my mission to make her time worthwhile, to make sure that when she showed up she had something to be proud of so that she could see that her sacrifice did not go to waste.
You are going to be okay. When I was younger, I was in a constant state of fear—fear of not being smart enough or good enough, fear of making the wrong decisions, fear of missing out, and fear of regretting my choices. I feared that I was not pretty enough, that I lacked conventional social teenage experiences, and that ultimately I was doing everything wrong. Now I look back at my younger self, and I am grateful for my dedication and relentlessness in being myself and working on my passions and goals, despite it not being the “norm” for a teenager to take a heavy interest in policy and politics. I am happy that I never gave up on fighting for what I believed in just because it was labelled “uncool.” And I would go back and tell myself that I would be okay, that my hard work was not in vain, and that I would not regret being labelled an angry feminist or a nerd. Because it was with that same passion that I evoked real change—having the opportunity to write policy documents, giving a voice to those who needed it, and acting on everything that I stood for in my personal life. I would tell my younger self that even though the moment I find myself in feels inescapable, I will be okay.
I think that many people are disillusioned with our government and democracy. People are tired of the high unemployment rate, high crime rate, high gender-based violence rates, and greylisted economy. These social and economic factors have caused people to withdraw and just expect the worst from the government and the country as a whole. And I hope that in the next 5 years, we can heal and grow as a country, that faith in democracy is restored, and that we become one nation united in our common goals.