In February, during the Alternative Mining Indaba, the People’s Dialogue and WoMin organised a public meeting where rural women spoke out about the condition that they live and work under.
Rural women working in the agricultural sector and rural women affected by mining have shared powerful testimonies about the structural and physical violence they experience on a daily basis.
At a special dialoge event organised in Cape Town in February, women from different parts of Africa shared testimonies to bring home the fact that all extractive industries, whether it is mining, fishing or agriculture, cause immense structural violence, particularly for women. Ultimately, women bear the the brunt of this violence.
“They are killing us every day. Not with guns. But with the pollution in the air, in the water. With the violence we face daily. They don’t about lives, they care about profits,” reported Gladys Mavhusa from Zimbabwe. Here the community of Marange in Zimbabwe was uprooted wholesale and their environment destroyed following the discovery of alluvial diamond deposits in 2006.
“The biggest challenges are being faced by women because now we do not know how we are supposed to live and survive,” Mavhusa added.
Danielle de Wit , a farmdweller, from Mawubuye based in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, reflected on her situation in the agricultural industry.
“Children and workers are not allowed to eat any of the produce, or it’s deducted from their wages and they get threatened. The abuse is so bad on the farms, when you go and challenge the farmer, the respos is so harsh that wokers lose hope.
“It is so bad that las year one of the workers committed suicide. There’s no separation of life as a worker to that of a citizen or a mother, or anything.
“The aim of the farm owner extends right into my house. So my husband could feel the repercussions of what I do when I challenge the farm. And my children are vulnerable too,” said De Wit.
The event entitled, “They are Killing us: Violence against Women in Extractives Dialogue”, was one of several events that were part of the Alternative Mining Indaba. This indaba was held to coincide with the annual Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, which was held in Cape Town from February 6 to 9.
The event was organised jointly by WoMIN, the Rural Women’s Assembly, Women on Farms and Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA).
Following our aim to socialize updated information and insights from struggles on the ground, our intention is to publish bi-monthly. Please note that while we are building our own People’s Dialogue website, we will publish our articles on the Rural Women’s Assembly blog.