Crossing a river with the Croc

2013-05-14 11:07

Monday morning. Things are bad.

I’m lying on the Ghenginator’s couch trying to will myself to my feet. It’s not working. I’m not surprised.

Sunday night was a mad blur of football and the demon drink. A drowning of sorrows over the impending football season’s end. And a belated celebration of pulling off the big one in the Standard Bank awards.

Those went well.

Wednesday, Harper and the Croc are wandering on the banks of the Black Umfolozi River. We’ve taken the Golf as deep into the bush as we can. I’m already knee-deep in mud.

My Adidas weigh about a ton each. We’re wondering why this Umfolozi’s called black and the other Umfolozi’s white.

We’re talking to these tiny kids. They’re all from a village called Silver. They’re all under five years of age. They have these little buckets.

They’re filling them with water from the river. It’s dirty. There’s cow sh*t and goat sh*t and donkey sh*t everywhere. There are dogs playing and pissing in the water. These babies have to drink this water. They’ve never had clean water to drink. It’s 2013. This is wrong.

The Croc’s in shooter heaven. What we’re seeing is sick. It’s a disgrace. These kids should be learning. Or playing. Instead, they’re carting filthy water up the hillside to their family homes. It’s obscene. But it’s going to make bangin’ pictures.

We’ve been to Silver before. On the eve of the 2011 local government elections. Silver’s promise city. All the parties contesting Zululand pop in to promise water in return for votes. All disappear after the elections. Two years later, the locals are still drinking with cattle.

I check the time. I have to be at the airport by 3pm to get to Jozi. It’s midday. We’re about an hour from the road. And another three-and-a-half hours from the King Shaka Airport. It’s not going to happen.

I give the boss a heads-up. Harper’s gonna be a no-show for the awards. It is what it is.

The Croc and I cross the river and head towards Onyango, another waterless village further along its course.

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