Nonhle Mbuthuma

Non-Executive Director

Nonhle Mbuthuma is a courageous and passionate community leader from the Wild Coast area of the Eastern Cape.

As a young child Nonhle was raised by her grandparents in Xolobeni, in the Eastern Cape (part of what is known as the “Wild Coast”). Her grandfather knew about the medicinal plants of the area and how to use them to cure people and animals. As a child she used to carry his bag when he went collecting medicinal plants and she has never forgotten the stories that he told her about the importance of Nature.

“Humans are not more important than Nature” he used to say “we must look after Nature because it looks after us - we can’t survive without Nature, People go to Church to ask for something but I go into Nature to say “thank you”’. Thank you God for making trees grow at my house to give me shade and shelter, thank you for a wonderful harvest, thank you for allowing this small plant to grow so that I can heal my child even though I don’t have money to buy medicine.”

Nonhle went to school and grew to adulthood in Sigidi village. Her deep understanding of Nature and her love for the amaMpondo culture and way of life, led her to become an outspoken opponent of plans to build a toll road and permit the establishment of huge open-cast titanium mines in the area where she lived. In 2007 Nonhle co-founded the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) to unite community members in five villages against the proposed mining. Today she is one of the most eloquent and respected community activists in the whole area. She is also a passionate advocate of the rights of communities to say “no” to mining and other “development” which threaten their culture and self-sufficient way of life, and continues to play a high-profile leadership role despite threats to her life and the 2016 assassination of the chair of the ACC, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe.  Nonhle is also actively involved in promoting local farming and food security initiatives.