Change Agents (Ep. 4) John Clarke “Barefoot Social Worker and Eco Activist” – Xolobeni Titanium Mine
What happens when industrialised mining processes meets a community not prepared to give up on their land? This is actually an epic story that is played out all around the world but played out this time in South Africa. Australian Mining group Mineral Commodities (MRC) initially attempted to start a mine in what is best described as one of the most pristine landscapes on the South African coast (Wild Coast). Very little really stood in their way except that the tribe who lived in the area, the Amadiba, said “No”. That basically signalled the start of an epic struggle spanning some ten years, marred with back handed shady dealing, violence and eventually murder. The struggle still continues to this day but the community has made some big headway into defeating the mine.
This story told by John Clarke details his role in the community, his motivation and relationships with various players in the community including the slain environmental activist, Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe. John has some really interesting philosophies that were derived from the experience and some chance encounters with Barefoot Economist Manfred Max Neef. The sum of his experiences prompts him to surmise the importance of working in cohesion with nature instead of against it. That the pursuit of short term gains derived from environmentally destructive practices can in no way compensate for the long term losses that are inflicted on an area and that Nature, Humanity and Technology are three interlinking parts that need to work together.
There is quite a bit of material on Johns Clarke’s activism. Direct link to his personal blog can be found here: John Clarkes Blog and more information about the various different news reports on the mining conflict are below:
You can find more information on the mining company doing all the damage here: http://www.mineralcommodities.com/our-company/