Nonhle Mbuthuma won’t back down. She’s leading the fight for her community against a mining company which wants to mine titanium on their ancestral land. “When you take my land, you take my identity,” she says. But she’s being harassed just for defending their rights.
Nonhle is part of the Amadiba traditional community, who have communal rights to land on South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Around 5,000 people may be forcibly evicted if the mine company MRC is allowed to mine the land. They could lose their homes, livelihoods and whole way of being.
Nonhle and her community founded the Amadiba Crisis Committee to unite people across five villages to push back. Since then, she has been continually intimidated and threatened and even survived an attempt to kill her. Another community leader was shot dead in 2016 and Nonhle was next on the ‘hit list’. She believes the threats are an attempt to silence her and force her to flee her land.
But she’s determined to resist. As she says: “This land was my grandmother’s, who inherited it from her grandparents. What am I going to leave for my children? Mining is not an option.”