Mariya Badeva-Bright specializes in Information Technology and legal research. She is also the director of the AfricanLII.
I work on content and policy development at the African Legal Information Institute.
A major case on the environmental and human rights of villagers in Zambia was heard in the English courts over two days this week. The appeal concerns the question of where villagers, suing over the pollution of their water via mining action, may bring their dispute. They want the case heard in the UK while Vedanta, the parent company they are targeting, says the “natural forum” for the matter would be Zambia.
FOR almost 2000 villagers in Zambia’s Chingola region, this was a crucial week. A two-day hearing in the English courts could see them finally able to act against the mining outfit they claim has, since 2005, polluted their water and damaged their health, their lands and any prospect of earning a living.
What happens when African societal norms meet modern commercial practice? From boardrooms in Sandton to the cultural mash-up and the “popular economy” of a South African township, African business people of different ethnicities and world views are contracting on a daily basis.