Spencer and I arrived in Australia at Perth Airport, but we spent most of our time in Perth’s little sister city, Fremantle. Fremantle is a low-key, historical town that is all about good food, good beer, and chill beach vibes. We could have happily never left. Continue reading “Fremantle and Around”
Tomorrow, we fly to Australia! Before we embark on our next, great adventure, I still have a few highlights from our trip to Cape Town to share. Continue reading “Cape Town Highlights”
With beaches, history, culture, and great food and drink, there is so much to do in Cape Town. Somehow, with so many things to explore in one short trip, we stumbled upon what might just be the best possible way to spend a gorgeous spring day in the Mother City. Continue reading “A Perfect Day in Cape Town”
Just off the coast of Cape Town, there is a small, rocky island. During its history, this island served as a leper colony, a military base, and a quarry, but it is famous (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site) for another reason. Robben Island was a prison where South Africa’s apartheid government kept undesirable political prisoners. Nelson Mandela was one of these prisoners, and he lived and worked on this chunk of rock in the Atlantic ocean for 18 of the 27 years he spent imprisoned. Continue reading “Robben Island”
Hurricane Matthew has left a trail of destruction from Haiti up the southeastern seaboard of the United States. Savannah, GA, where my family lives, took a significant battering on Saturday, but I am grateful to say that they are all safe and their homes are all relatively unscathed. Many of their neighbors cannot say the same, and many people are still dealing with the aftermath of the destruction.
Alright folks, it’s time for another history lesson! You might remember from school, or from playing Oregon Trail, that during the 19th-century hundreds of thousands of Americans loaded up their wagons and headed west to the American frontier, to strike out new homes for themselves and fulfill “Manifest Destiny.” As it turns out, around the same time thousands of South Africans were making similar wagon journeys across their country. These were the Voortrekkers who undertook the Great Trek during the 1830s and 1840s.
I have been researching illegal gold mining in South Africa for the past few months, trying to understand this illicit industry and see what drives people to become zama-zamas (illegal miners). To help me get a better sense of what their underground lives are like, Spencer put me in touch with Lloyd, the owner of the mine he used to work at. Lloyd granted me a useful interview, and then invited us to visit his mine and meet with some of the illegal miners working on the property. We jumped at the chance, as it was also a great opportunity for Spencer to revisit the site where he worked from 2010-2011.
When not busy traveling and blogging, I have been working on an investigative report about the dangerous practice of informal gold mining here in South Africa. Here is the final story, published by GroundUp, a news website focused on social justice news.
Lethal toll of informal gold mining
While deaths on formal mines have come down, zama-zama fatalities have gone up
1000 years ago, a city formed where no city had existed before. On the top of a steep rocky outcropping, a king lived with his many wives.
It’s election day here in South Africa, and the polling station is right up the road from our house. Our landlady and friend Lauren brought me along when she voted, so I got to see South African democracy in action.