Yvonne A. Braun


This article explores one woman’s activism in the context of a large scale dam and infrastructure project in Southern Africa. Since 1986, Lesotho and South Africa are building one of the largest multi-dam water schemes in the world, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Local communities impacted by the LHWP face resettlement, increased risk of impoverishment, and changed access to natural resources. Much like with other projects of this type and scale (Scudder, 2006), the multidimensional costs of the $8 billion dollar World Bank funded water scheme will fall hardest on rural women. Rural Basotho women are at the front lines in negotiating a changed landscape, and lead the struggle to speak out about their experiences and organize impacted people against transnational environmental injustice. This paper privileges one woman’s activist experiences as a way to explore in depth the diversity of actions and choices that activism might entail and the contexts in which activism can take place in the everyday lives of women in Lesotho, specifically, but also throughout the world.

Author Biography

Yvonne A. Braun, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon. The author conducts research on issues related to gender, development and environment in Southern Africa.