This article appeared in the Inyanda Community News newspaper, which is published every two months by the Inyanda National Land Movement and distributed nationwide through its affiliate organisations.
Every year the city of Cape Town hosts a Mining Indaba. This event is jointly organised by the mining sector and the government. It attracts mining companies, governments and investors from across the world. Over 6000 people attended the official Indaba.
The 2017 theme of the indaba was “An Accelerated Effort to Unite Miners, Investors and Governments.” South Africa’s message was even more stark when it said “South Africa is open for business”. These messages highlight the sentiment that Africa is for sale and its easy to do busy in Africa.
Over the past eight years civil society has been organising a people's summit called the Alternative Mining Indaba in order to counter the dominant message that Africa is for sale and that South Africa was open business. Whilst this event is also growing, there is still not enough space for the voices, testimonies and experiences of those directly affected by mining; those working in the bowels of the earth and who are affected daily by the dust of coal; or those living with broken bodies from years of mining.
This year TCOE co-hosted a number of side events with the People’s Dialogue, a South –South platform of popular organisations, social movements and NGOs campaigning around climate justice, in defense of Mother Earth. One of the sessions was on the impact of extractivism on women.
This seminar heard women from Marange in Zimbabwe speaking about how diamond mining has destroyed their community; we heard about the struggle in Xoleni against the Australian mining company as well as from women working and living on commercial farms who spoke about pesticides and the violence on the farms.
Another highlight was the placard demonstration that was held in front of the Mining Indaba. Activists demanded an end to the destruction of nature and the grabbing of land for mining.