The podcast about water that might just change your life. For Water For Life tells the extraordinary stories of 12 ordinary women and men who have made it their life's work to protect, preserve and replenish the water supply in their unequal and water-scarce country, South Africa. From indigenous knowledge to cutting edge science, each episode reveals the challenges and insights of these geologists, healers, innovators, farmers, organisers and activists.
Disclaimer: This podcast series is brought to you by JoJo in the interests of conversations around water. The opinions and comments made in the episodes do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and opinions of JoJo, and we have made every attempt to ensure the reliability of information provided. Products or technologies mentioned will not be brought to market by JoJo.
The voice of the natural world
Her name is not just a name, but an urgent imperative to build or establish something, and what Makhadzi Vho-Mphatheleni Makaulele has spent a lifetime building is truly great. She is the founder and director of Dzomo la Mupo, an environmental protection and cultural advocacy organisation that been central to preserving the sacred forests, lakes and waterfalls of Limpopo’s Vhembe district which are fundamental for the natural flow of water throughout the area, the livelihoods of its residents and the survival of the Venda people’s cultural and spiritual way of life. Women are at the centre of the organisation which Makhadzi Vho-Mphatheleni has built. It relies on the institution of makhadzi – a father’s senior sister in the Venda social structure– who are among the designated knowledge keepers and power-brokers of Venda society.
How to be an eco warrior
“Our Mother Earth is on fire, and we have to stop her from burning…because [she] is in our hands, we have to take her.” This was the message youth climate activist, Yola Mgogwana presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa and a delegation of the United Nations Population Fund at a climate change symposium in 2019. She was twelve years old, at the time, but already an old hand in addressing large crowds about the devastating impact climate change is already having on young and poor people in the global south, and the urgency with which our leaders have to act to reverse its effects.
Struggle Against Phosphate Mining in Cape West Coast
Nicola Viljoen describes the Langebaan Lagoon as the jewel of South Africa’s West Coast. It’s not hard to see why when we consider the beauty of the lagoon and the astonishing natural heritage it is host to. Nestled inside of the UNESCO recognised Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the lagoon and the towns around it boast a remarkable biodiversity. The reserve is located in the Cape floristic region – one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots – and the lagoon is a designated wetland of international importance supporting over 20000 birds of 250 species under the RAMSAR convention. The towns and settlements connected by the biosphere reserve are supported by tourism and small-scale farming but, for the last six years, the ecology of the lagoon and the way of life of these communities have been at the brink of a change they might never be able to come back from.
Gogo Mahlodi is one of thousands of izangoma living and practicing as a diviner, healer and indigenous knowledge keeper in Johannesburg. Through her practice, she routinely sees how the confluence of capitalism, urban development and the breakdown of communitarian social structures have alienated her clients from matters of the spirit. Water is one of the key facilitators of the healing work that she provides, and the loss of natural environs with healthy and living lakes, rivers and springs has made it all the more difficult for her to perform the healing work that she is called to, as well as for ordinary people to form and cultivate healing spiritual relationships with themselves, with nature and with others.
Mining Liquid Gold
For Dr Dyllon Randall, there is a real opportunity to apply the lessons the natural environment is teaching us about closing the loop on waste streams, and he believes it can be done with serious investment into the innovative and interdisciplinary collaboration that natural and social scientists are doing through initiatives like the Future Water Institute. The goal is ultimately about constantly rethinking waste streams as a resource, and extracting maximum value from them so we can achieve a sustainable future much faster.
Resistance is Fertile
For Nazeer Sonday and the urban farmers of the PHA, the immediate goal is to secure the aquifer, the water and every person who relies on it for their food and for their livelihoods. But for the long term, they hope to be the blueprint for how to strengthen food security and local urban economies by employing regenerative water and land use practices, as well as shortening the supply chain between where food is grown and where it is ultimately sold and eaten.