SWAZILAND'S only public interest environmental attorney Thuli Brilliance Makama's grueling three-year legal battle with the Swazi government has borne fruit.

Makama, pictured, who won a landmark case to include environmental NGO representation in the Swaziland Environment Authority, reinforcing the right to public participation in environmental decision-making, was recently honoured for her work.

She is among six recipients of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize with people from Cambodia, Poland, Cuba, the US and Costa Rica. The prestigious US $150000 (R1,1m) award honours six environmental activists from communities around the world each year.

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda. It has been awarded to 139 people from 79 countries.

Prizewinners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organisations and individuals.

Makama received the award for successfully dealing with issues of conservation that focus on human rights in Swaziland.

She won a landmark case to include environmental NGO representation in conservation decisions and continues to challenge the forced eviction of and violence perpetrated against poor communities living on the edges of conservation areas.

She studied law at the University of Swaziland and received an Sc from the London School of Economics.

She now directs Yonge Nawe's environmental law programme.