African Dreams and Initiatives
I have been away from Africa for too long, I blinked & missed the exciting growth & initiatives that seem to be sprouting, budding & colonising land where only despair once lived.
While I writing an earlier article about hail in Limpopo, the research quickly drew my attention to community projects in the area. I was impressed, & an old, welcome feeling came back – Hope for the future of an amazing life in Africa for every human, animal and mineral.
As the rest of the world goes crazy, it would seem that balance never died, just emigrated to the land once called, “The dark Continent”.
While Hoedspruit has produced HIV/AIDS & wild animal management schemes, it hasn’t been alone. Elsewhere on the Limpopo, oranges have been saving the day, week & month for other communities.
Limpopo and The Kingdom of Mapungubwe
Limpopo, derived from the Sepedi name diphororo tša meetse which approximately translated means gushing strong waterfalls, is Africa at its best. Breathtakingly beautiful, but extreme – Bipolar Mother Nature off her meds & unrestrained by roads or reason.
Europeans never saw the area until 1498 when Vasco de Gama anchored of its mouth & named it Espiritu Santo River. This fact, like many, could change given time. Histories can change faster than futures in Africa.
The Kingdom of Mapungubwe existed in the conflux of the Limpopo & the Shashe Rivers for around 80 years following 1075. It was phase one, if you like, of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe which reached its zenith in the 13th century. Despite man’s best efforts the origins of Great Zimbabwe (ruins) remain shrouded in mystery. The latest official story makes sense, but there always seems to be yet another missing part of the puzzle. The history of these granite stones seems far more fragile than the ancient structures. The narrative of the origins of Great Zimbabwe has been adapted and updated as often as the buildings themselves. Geologists and historians seem to hold their breath anticipating the next new find that will either cement or rewrite the story of the past.
Considering this remote, wild area was once home to a civilisation of around 5000 seems almost beyond comprehension. There is evidence of this, & of iron Age settlements from around 1200 AD.
San rock paintings & petroglyphs (engravings), fossilised dinosaur bones & the remains of dinosaur Massospondylus carinatus, a dinosaur that died out 65 million years ago takes us back further than our minds can rewind. The area is ancient, the stories & folklore are colourful & contradictory & the jealous sandstone will not give up her secrets willingly. Perhaps it’s better than way?
The Mapungubwe landscape itself was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in July 2003. Several sites are also situated on Sentinel Ranch and Mapela Hill in Zimbabwe.
To the South of the river is veld, supporting sandstone ridges, koppies & huge Mopane. Closer to the river, rugged hills rise up from nowhere & range from 300 to 780m above sea level.
Mapungubwe is renowned for the golden rhino, but also for the golden harvest that has breathed new life into the lands & the people. Wealth bringing gold is now developed above the ground in the form of shiny citrus that gleams gold & orange. Unlike mineral gold, this new gold can be cultivated & harvested without scarring the land for eternity until it disappears. It’s gentle, edible & unites people instead of causing greed & the wars they bring.
Givetrip & Nottingham Estates
The Shashe Project adheres to the motto
“Give a man a fish you feed him today. Teach a man to fish and you feed him until the fish run out. Teach a man to breed fish, to build a business and he will sustain a community for life.”
Givetrip’s philosophy centres around helping communities to help themselves, and this comes together brilliantly in the Nottingham Estates project.
If you are interested in supporting this or other community projects that aim to improve community lives and provide education, adventure then visit Givetrip for you & me
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