Thuli Makama

Thuli Makama

Recipient of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize.


In the 1960s the Reilly family began building game parks throughout Swaziland. As the Reilly parks expanded, indigenous locals were forced off the land they have depended on for food and survival for centuries. Under the pretext of Swaziland’s game laws, which allow game rangers to shoot poachers, the parks’s game rangers have killed about 100 locals, many of whom were unarmed poachers. Public interest attorney Thuli Makama has taken the organization which administers these game laws to court, and is publicly calling for investigations into these killings. After a three-year legal battle, Makama also won a spot for environmental NGOs on Swaziland’s Environment Authority board, the highest environmental decision-making body in the country. This position will allow Makama to help balance the interests of the local communities with those of the parks, which Makama calls "the lasting solution."

Thuli Makama is one of six recipients of the 2010 Goldman Prize. Each year, the Goldman Environmental Prize honors one grassroots environmental activist from each of the six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Island Nations, North America and South and Central America. Philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman created the prize in 1990 to give international recognition and financial support to the winners’ projects and to provide an inspiration for other environmental advocates.

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