“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Basetsana Happy Pitso


Civil Society

Organisation / Company

African Climate Alliance


South Africa’s youth are out there leading movements that address climate change, and  Basetsana Happy Pitso, 25, is proudly among them. As a support facilitator for the African Climate Alliance, her organisational skills are pushed to the limit. Her tasks include helping to promote events and ensure that they run smoothly. In Basetsana’s experience, involving the community is key, because when people have invested in projects and begin to see their benefits, then the projects become sustainable. She has seen the power of collective action in grassroots movements in Alexandra, where she comes from, and where she has helped to organise events. Basetsana has learned how to study while maintaining her activism. Beyond her work commitments, she is involved in youth coordinator leadership and gender equality change-makers programmes, which help her to develop her leadership skills. Knowing that she will leave behind a better world is what inspires her to excel. Basetsana sees a future where young people are involved in decision-making. She believes the world will be more equitable and sustainable because of advances in digital and information technology that will enable more youth to become active citizens.



Certificate in Public management and Governance through Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI-RCL SA

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Archaeology (international politics), Unisa

Gender Equality Changemakers Program, Digital Frontiers Institute


One of my proudest achievements is the organisation of an youth artivism session in my community in 2023, through the African Climate Alliance Ambassador project, which used art as a medium to raise awareness about climate change and environmental degradation. Bringing together youth, environmental activists and community members, we created murals and held workshops that highlighted the importance of preserving our natural resources and mitigating climate impacts. The project not only fostered community engagement but also educated participants about the direct impact of climate change on our lives and the urgency of collective action.
The lessons I learned from this project were many. First, art can be an incredibly effective tool for social change, as it transcends language barriers and resonates emotionally with people. Second, community involvement is crucial for the success of any initiative; when people feel invested and see tangible benefits, they are more likely to support and sustain efforts. Last, collaboration with various stakeholders — including artists, activists, and community leaders — enhances the reach and effectiveness of a project. This experience solidified my belief in the power of grassroots activism and the importance of inclusive, creative approaches to problem-solving.


Yes, several mentors have influenced my journey. Leaders from Amnesty International, the South African Institute of International Affairs, Young Leaders CONNECT-IDEAL and African Climate Alliance have provided guidance and support, helping me navigate complex social issues and develop effective advocacy strategies. Their dedication and wisdom have shaped my approach to leadership and activism, inspiring me to aim higher and think critically. Outside of the activism space, the three most important mentors in my life are my late grandmother, older sister and a special woman named Tryphosa Ramano, who is committed to mentoring young black women through initiatives like Young Leaders Connect. She holds board positions with the Solidarity Fund and the National Transmission Company of South Africa​, CFO South Africa, IW FSA, Harvard Advanced Leadership and Eskom. She took me under her wing after I lost my grandmother and she’s still the most significant role model in my life.