Four stories from four diverse communities - these are the Untold Stories which Cape-based civil society organisation, the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG), launched on the 20th of May.
A year in the making, the Untold Stories were written by science writer and author Leonie Joubert, in collaboration with the EMG team which capture some of the work which the organisation does in the field of environmental and social sustainability. Local photographer Sam Reinders, and Cape Argus illustrator Chip Snaddon collaborated in the series.
Each story captures something of the work done by EMG, an organisation which tries to encourage ‘sustainable development’ through economic and social justice, in a way that leads to more human relationships with each other and the natural environment. The four stories in the online book are:
1. Makhaza: ‘This is my Kirstenbosch!’ visits a once litter-strewn wetland in a township outside Cape Town which has become the community’s own botanical pride.
2. Rebirth in the Ancient Bokkeveld heads into up onto the weather-scoured plateau in the Northern Cape to visit a retired wheat and sheep farm that’s having its work-weary slopes restored to health. The scars of more than a century of overgrazing, ploughing and failed farm management practices run chest deep in the grainy tillite clay on the renosterveld slopes of the Bokkeveld plateau, in the Northern Cape. The farm of Avontuur, about 15km outside the town of Nieuwoudtville, was once thought to be good only for sheep, wheat and rooibos. But it is in the ‘bulb capital of the world’, and includes pristine fynbos, which is why conservationists snapped it up when it came under the hammer in 2008.
3. Kobus February & the Place of Thorns is an illustrated story of the fictional character which brings to life the reality of labourers working to grow South Africa’s food.
4. Frack that is a cut-budget blog in which EMG asks government how it will police pollution caused by a fracking spill. Read EMG’s Untold Stories here http://untoldstories.org.za or go directly to Rebirth in the Ancient Bokkeveld here http://untoldstories.org.za/Story-2_Rebirth-in-the-ancient-Bokkeveld.html.