SA Goldman Prize winner on his anti-fracking campaign
15 April 2013 Last updated at 16:30 BST
Jonathan Deal had no previous experience of grassroots campaigning but that did not stop him from taking on oil multinationals in an attempt to protect South Africa's picturesque Karoo region.
He objected to plans for hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which involves pumping high pressure fluids into shale rock to extract gas and oil.
Now, Mr Deal has been awarded one of the world's most prestigious environmental awards, the Goldman Prize.
BBC Africa's Komla Dumor caught up with him and asked just why he was so opposed to fracking.
For more African news from the BBC, download the Africa Today podcast.