South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Interview Segment

Sven (Bobby) Peek interviewed by David Wiley
May 7, 2006 Durban, South Africa.


"The industry wanted to talk about talking, and the community said, 'Fine, but we want to talk about your pollution'." [4:50]

Peek describes a critical moment in negotiations between the communities of South Durban and the Engen oil refinery, when President Mandela visited the refinery in March 1995 and brought community members, refinery senior management, and several Cabinet members around the same table. Five years later, refinery managers and community representatives signed an agreement to reduce the oil refinery's emissions.

Sven (Bobby) Peek grew up in the Coloured township of Wentworth in South Durban, an area surrounded by oil refineries and other chemical industries. He became active in the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), and he received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1998. He now directs Groundwork, a national South African environmental justice organization affiliated with Friends of the Earth.

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