In a dry season: A view from above of Africa's water woes
Photographer Florian Wagner is raising awareness about the African water crisis
Internationally acclaimed photographer Florian Wagner has set out on an expedition, called African Waters 360°, to raise awareness about water and his first official stop at the weekend was in drought-stricken Cape Town.
Wagner, a qualified chopper pilot who is travelling with a second pilot, Slade Healy, made an emergency but safe landing on the Wild Coast in his painted helicopter, on the way to Cape Town.He intends to shoot panoramic images and video from a helicopter of cities near water and important ecological systems on the continent.
South Africa is one of 10 countries on which Wagner, who has published in National Geographic, will focus. He will also cover Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town hosted a launch event on Friday night to support fundraising for his photo-film project and the associated charity. A photo of Cape Town is being auctioned for charity.“Africa 360° is a fundraising project for Charity:Water, which develops infrastructure for local communities to have access to clean water, key to improving their lives,” Wagner states.
“The project’s aim is to document Africa’s beauty, in order to create awareness for the need for responsible handling of our number-one source of life,” he says.
His girlfriend Regina Singelnstein is also on the trip, in partnership with IT company OWC, Leica Sports Optics and Leica Camera.Kholosa Magudu, head of community engagement: water stewardship for the WWF-SA Freshwater Programme, spoke at the launch about the pivotal need to protect water sources in a talk titled Futureproofing by Waterproofing.“I wanted to inspire people to reconnect to nature, specifically our water source catchments in mountainous areas where we get our water from,” she said. “We need to keep our landscape healthy.”
Magudu said: “The water sources are the foundation of our water security in an uncertain future where water security is not only an issue for Cape Town, but South Africa and the world.”
She grew up in Matatiele, a water source area in the Eastern Cape, and says: “Currently I work on the Breede River project, which falls under the Groot Winterhoek water source area.”Magudu, who has a postgraduate degree in ecological sciences, started out as a community volunteer and now plays a community liaison role, promoting awareness and activism around water, sanitation and waste.
She knocks on doors in her efforts to drive behavioural change in communities, including on issue of solid waste and the faecal contamination of rivers. Holding government bodies accountable is also part of her mission.
Jean Tresfon, another world-class photographer and collaborator with Two Oceans, also spoke at the project’s launch.In his presentation on the Western Cape’s water bodies, Tresfon showed a story of conservation, drought and sewage.
He has raised awareness of sewage outfalls around the Cape Peninsula with a series of vivid aerial images.
Tresfon has also documented the Western Cape’s dams running dry over the past three years.