On the other side of the Amazon and across the South Atlantic Ocean, the small South African community of Xolobeni won a similar court case. Like the Waorani, the people of Xolobeni demanded that they be consulted rather than being forced to cede their land to mining interests – in this case to an Australian titanium mining company. Also like the Waorani, they were defending not only their lives, livelihoods, their health and wellbeing, but also an ecologically rich corner of the planet. Xolobeni is in Pondoland, a dune-covered stretch of the coast that is home to endemic species and frequented offshore by whales.
The law says we have a right to be consulted, but what we say doesn’t seem to matter. We have told the company many times that we don’t want their mine. How many times do we have to say no?
– Nonhle Mbuthuma, local resident
The court agreed that local communities must give their consent before mining is allowed on their land.