Kabir Bavikatte

Co-founder: Natural Justice in South Africa

Thirty-five-year-old Kabir Bavikatte is slowly becoming the change he wants to see in the world. He may not be as radical as his hero and fellow lawyer, Ghandi, but he's every bit as passionate about grassroots issues such as community rights and biodiversity. As co-founder of the legal non-profit organisation Natural Justice in South Africa, Bavikatte helps communities use their collective power and reminds governmental bodies not to abuse theirs. It's not an issue that is especially unique to South Africa, which is why Natural Justice has a team of law practitioners who work in Africa, Asia and Latin America to ensure that when environmental laws are drawn up, local communities have been part of the entire process. Bakivatte also works with the ABS Capacity Building Initiative for Africa and advises the African Group within the Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing. A Shuttleworth Fellow and PhD student, Bakivatte cut his teeth as a community-based lawyer working on issues ranging from labour and gender to sexuality rights. He also worked with community-based organisations on the interface between human rights and religion before joining a UK-based trust working on community rights to traditional knowledge. Today he's the middleman fighting to find a sustainable use for the environment on behalf of communities, in keeping with the laws of both nature and humans. existing, Bakivatte would ensure that "people are taught skills and It's no surprise then that, if he could have given free rein of laws provided with opportunities to produce what they need for their wellbeing rather than be completely dependant on wage labour to purchase goods and services�. Bakivatte's focus may have shifted in the past six years, but his heart is still in the same place, looking for ways to strengthen the collective by evoking the spirit of the law. � Cat Pritchard

Website: naturaljustice.org Blog: natural-justice.blogspot.com