A Critically Modified, Very Poor Condition Stream

Penz Malinga hosted a water workshop for the Mpophomeni Community last week and compiled this report.

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On a lovely and sunny Friday morning  I was joined by Mnqobi, Sihle, Asanda, Philani, Sphe and Andile. We were all excited and ready to tackle the task of testing the waters of the Mthinzima stream.

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As we walked past the newly built houses on the wetland we chatted about how the people who planned to live in those houses would spend most of their summer under a few centimetres of water due to their location.

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We reached the stream at a cattle crossing marked by a lot of dung in and around the water.

r mpop water wshop 006Upon inspecting the water we found lots of bloodworms and tapeworms and we moved on to our first testing site at the bridge.

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We could note a bad stench as we got closer to the water but jumped in nevertheless.

r mpop water wshop 015All the testing sites were in the sandy type category and the results were as follows:

Location/Site Invertebrates caught Results
29.56357 s30.18328 e flatworm, snails, bloodworm 3.00 Critically modified, very poor condition
29.55104 s30.15512 e Flatworm, worms, crab, true-flies 3.25    Critically modified, very poor condition
29.55483 s30.18835 e flatworm, snails, bloodworm 3.00 Critically modified, very poor condition
 29.54645   s30.18991 e Crab, bloodworm, snail, bugs and beetles 4.00 Critically modified, very poor condition

During our third test we noticed a dead snake floating about and we all halted for a bit to inspect it.  It was a night adder. Mnqobi wanted to take it and sell it to an inyanga but Sihle said it would smell too bad as they walked home with it.

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We noted a lot of interesting wildflowers and fungi.

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The boys were particularly interested in the so-called love charms. I told them that my grandfather was a Healer and the only love charm I knew of was made of the flowers of the sweat pea (vigna vexillata), mixed with the fat of an animal that mates for life. Apparently all that you had to do was rub the mixture on your brow and make sure that the first person you look at is the one your heart desires. The boys promised not to try out the remedy due to the fact that an innocent creature would have to be killed.

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After the water testing was all done, we went to explore the ruins of the Dairy Farm on the Midmar side of the road and gazed across the dam at the red hartebeest buck in the distance.

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This workshop is one of twelve which will be conducted in local conservancies in the next few months, funded by N3TC.  Results have been loaded onto the miniSass site – www.minisass.org

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About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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2 Responses to A Critically Modified, Very Poor Condition Stream

  1. anelileg says:

    Absolutely amazing work being done by Penz!
    However, I am very concerned about the people not wearing gumboots or protective gear. It doesn’t take much to infect an open wound or cut. The water is clearly very dirty and one cannot be sure if is innocent sediments or nutrient pollution.

    • Hello Anelile, yes, you are right to be cautious about infections. However, kids play in these streams all the time! I will soon be posting a story one youngster wrote about the rashes they sometimes get when it is so hot and the can’t resist splashing in the stream. We need to ensure that everyone is able to play in the water.

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