South Africa: Hennops - a River Runs Through Me...

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The Hennops River, the longest river in Gauteng, whispers of bygone beauty and abundance, but is now in shaggy disarray, coated in sewage and layers of plastic.

I grew up overlooking a river in Pretoria next to the Moreleta Spruit. It flooded one day, washing our lounge furniture into the garden, and I remember my mom putting on her favourite burgundy velvet evening gown, grabbing her jewellery box in haste, and shouting, "Kids, we have to get out of here!" Fortunately, the storm subsided and all was not lost, bar ruined curtains and carpets. My philosophy after that was: never live next to a river.

There is, however, something powerfully magnetic about a river and I find myself once again living close to one.

The Hennops River, the longest river in Gauteng, whispers of bygone beauty and abundance, but is now in shaggy disarray, coated in sewage and layers of plastic. She calls out my name and, when I did try to ignore her overwhelming distress, my daughter tugged at my arm and said, "Mommy, you have to do something!"

Thus it was...

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