This project is complete -- for now -- so it's time for a recap of what the heck actually happened.
After several months of zamas, abandoned mines and randomly shooting a shack fire, a number of stories emerged. Much of the investigation ended up as a four-part series with Independent Media, a media group with titles across the country. On its best day, the story was simultaneously published in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.
Here are the project's deliverables. Enjoy...
--Series published across Independent Media platforms including The Star, Saturday Star, The Sunday Independent, Cape Argus and Pretoria News. (PDFs uploaded on linked FIJ site).
--Part 1: "Deep down in the disused shafts"
--Part 2: "Dumped, damned and desperate"
--Part 3: "Mines are not closed - they're abandoned"
--Part 4: "Too many holes in the mine rehab story"
--Published on Yale Environment 360.
--"The Haunting Legacy of South Africa's Gold Mines"
--Published with the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism.
--"SA's water bubble"
--Published in Oxpeckers and the Mail & Guardian.
--"No (dis)closure on mining's mess"
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment was extraordinarily helpful with my reporting, and the Bench Marks Foundation also provided support. Itumeleng English -- photographer extraordinaire at The Star -- was instrumental in this work, as always.
Finally, I partnered with the Wits City Institute in creating an exhibit of my photography at the Workers' Museum in Johannesburg's Newtown neighborhood. I appreciate the assistance provided by all these groups.
In addition to this investigation, I decided to undertake a project in Malawi...for some reason. I travelled the country for two weeks in a beat-up Toyota Starlet to find out what the government's dream of large-scale agricultural irrigation might mean for the country's environment and energy production. That -- and a piece on South African fracking -- will be coming soon.
My work in Africa is done for the moment, but I plan to make that moment brief with impending shifts in legislation, political leadership and economics promising to blow up the mine closure arena. As always, thanks for coming along for the ride, and don't forget to check back soon.