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If the Xolobeni community in the Eastern Cape ever does free itself from the threat of mining, it could do worse than to establish an educational facility in the rolling hills that sweep down to a ridiculously beautiful, pristine, golden beach. It would be an environmentally friendly facility, one that blends seamlessly into the surroundings and leaves not even a footprint when term is out. The facility, which would be part of a larger tourism project, would deal with development economics. Teachers and students from across the globe would be given the opportunity to pay a small fortune to be taught about development from the perspective of the "developee", as it were. Decades ago I spent a year in Malaysia for my undergraduate thesis on development economics, so when I was invited to Xolobeni several years ago I felt sure I understood the issues. That was before I met Nonhle Mbuthuma, spokesperson for the Amadiba Crisis Committee, which is driving the campaign to prevent mining. Sh...

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