This is what resistance to mining looks like
The Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) is an annual event that takes place parallel to the Mining Indaba (the self-proclaimed “world’s largest mining investment conference”). The AMI, unlike the MI, brings communities, NGO’s and other members of civil society together to discuss alternatives to mining. Around this year’s AMI which took place during last week, AIDC participated in several activities to strengthen voices calling for an end to extractivism and for self-determined development (see a slideshow of pictures below).
Activists from various movements and organisations who make up the Southern African campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power came together to launch the “Right2SayNO!”. The campaign for the Right2SayNo! demands that communities are actively involved in the development process and thereby forms an essential element in amplifying community voices, and grassroot processes and law from below.
In order to open up and contextualize the conversation about extractivism on the continent, AIDC, the Peoples Dialogue and Africa Unite hosted an Amandla Forum titled “Solidarity against mining in Africa” with a special focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo (find the audio record here). At the meeting, Soraya Aziz and Médard Abenge spoke about the dimensions of mining in their home country, reflecting on how international corporations are looting communities for decades and the detrimental socio-economic impact it has on ordinary Congolese people. Nonthle Mbuthuma, spokesperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) in South Africa, then gave insights into how the ACC is fighting for their right to say “No” to mining in the Xolobeni community. At the forum, as well as in her various speeches at several AMI sessions, she stressed that her community is not resisting development itself, but that they do not regard extractivism as a development option which they are willing to choose and instead want to come up with their own development alternatives.
To express the collective protest against mining and for the Right2sayNO!, on Feb 7th we eventually joined the march by AMI participants to the Cape Town International Convention Centre where the official Mining Indaba took place, and supported them in handing over a list of demands to a representative of the Mining Indaba.