“Our lives and our livelihoods depend on this water. If we don’t have it, we don’t have anything.” These were the words of Zaphe Kani, one of the most respected members of the community. He was a teacher, and his words were followed by a startling silence that seemed to reverberate around the room. The community that had gathered in the church hall that day could sense that the problem was now beyond their control and they were also aware that anything they dared to try now may result in failure once again. The ominous silence was broken by the voice of MaNdlovu who led the hall in a hymn that marked the closing of that day’s sombre meeting.
Not more than a few miles away, Luvuyo sat watching the herd intently. Although it was still winter, his worries were calmed by the fact that summer was near and her rains might grace the pastures once again. Ten calves were to be born in summer and Luvuyo feared that the cows weren’t receiving enough nutrition. Even the grass that blanketed the Transkei mountains looked parched and yellow. This was a sign that winter was still in session and the absence of the rain proved this. They had already roamed 15Km away from the kraal and the grass in the fields was disappearing rapidly. (more…)