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Strategic communications for WWF

June 20th, 2013

- James Oatway, Senior Photographer Sunday Times

San art may appear on South Africa’s bank notes and photos of wrinkled, smiling San may decorate postcards across the country, but Platfontein paints a truer, bleaker picture of the reality of life for many of South Africa’ indigenous communities – who have been used, abused, discarded and stripped of their rights for generations. And as James Oatway shows in this superb photo-essay, the situation is even worse for San from Namibia and Angola who fought for the apartheid regime. The Lost Crows have no voice and no powerful supporters among South Africa’s decision-makers. Having fought for years for the losing side, the Lost Crows are now fighting another losing battle – for their very survival as a people.

- Ilan Godfrey, Winner of the inaugural OPENPhoto competition

With the discovery of gold in the late 1800s, mines began to spread unrelentingly across much of South Africa – resulting in extreme wealth for a few, exploitation and suffering for the majority and serious environmental degradation, writes Ilan Godfrey. The need for economic growth cannot be ignored but neither can the sustainability of the water, air and soil that future generations depend on. Exploitation, corruption and greed threaten the land. Once a symbol of wealth and a formidable force, the Legacy of the Mine reveals the scars of neglect and decay that pose a serious threat to our society.

- Louise Redvers, freelance journalist

International investors flock to oil-rich Angola with dollars signs in their eyes. People say you can literally smell the money that is waiting to be made there – a combination of high need and a government keen to be seen to be busy. But as a former resident and regular return visitor, all Lousie Redvers is able to smell is the sweaty and bitter stench of poverty that steams up from the open drains and rotting piles of rubbish.

- Zarina Geloo, freelance journalist

Zambia's copper mines might be booming but the communities around the mines are not benefiting at all. Instead, as Zarina Geloo explains, outside the fences and fortified walls of the mines, communities continue to suffer from the acute poverty and a miserable quality of life – with little access to basic services and even less hope.

- Enrico Carisch, author of ': The changing face of artisanal gold mining in eastern Congo'

Gold mining in eastern Congo could allow millions of people to pull themselves out of poverty – and to support socio-economic development in the region - especially now that many areas are no longer controlled by armed militias. But the miners and their families are caught in a bitter inequality trap. As Enrico Carisch writes, without power or even a voice, they are at the mercy of a small, influential elite. Barely able to scrape a living from the mineral-rich earth, most miners cannot point to a post-conflict dividend. For them, war or peace has made little difference.

- Joseph Kraus, Policy Manager for Transparency and Accountability at ONE

Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea for the last 33 years, stated in a recent interview that people in his country “do not know what poverty is. And with all the nation’s oil wealth, they shouldn’t. But, as Joseph Kraus writes, the majority of people in Equatorial Guinea know all about poverty and inequality. They struggle to survive it every day.

- Boaz Muhumuza, OSIEA Disability Rights Programme Officer 

Growing up in Uganda, Boaz Muhumuza had to travel over 600 kilometres from his home to find a school for the blind. But he was lucky. Most children in East Africa who are blind, deaf or have an intellectual disability never receive a proper education. But it’s not just institutional barriers, people with disabilities also struggle against attitudes. As Boaz writes, "...people don’t understand that an impairment – like being unable to see – does not affect my other faculties. The fact that I don’t see doesn’t mean that I don’t think. What we really need is awareness and education, so that people can understand disability...and laws and policies to create a positive environment for persons with disabilities."


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