He said little as they paddled their way along the sunken streets…
…of what used to be the centre of Pretoria.
Everyone had always known there were sinkholes all over Pretoria, it was a major factor when building or buying a house and every now and then there was a newspaper article or a news blurb about part of a house collapsing or another hole under a road having to be filled in. it was common place. Nothing serious… right? Apparently, the growing sinkholes underneath so much of upper Gauteng had gone unnoticed due to budget cuts and general redirection of funds into things like housing and sports stadiums. Not that monitoring seismic activity in inland South Africa had ever really been a priority. The one or two small tremors that had occurred had been accredited to far away earthquakes on the coast of Mozambique.
Then, about two years ago, there were more and more problems with sewer pipes and buried electricity cables, buildings were cracking and shifting, streets needed repairing more and more. Yet no-one seemed to put two and two together, and the ones who did were labeled as trouble makers and crackpots.
And now, the centre of the former capital city of South Africa was a tourist attraction. Small operators like himself charged a fee to take visitors on a tour of the new capital. Even though he traveled these waterways on a regular basis, it never ceased to amaze him how people had already made a plan to make the place livable again, even though the government had declared it an irretrievable disaster area. Mostly it was the previously homeless, who had taken over the abandoned offices and apartment blocks, building bridges between the buildings with all sorts of debris. It looked like something out of a big budget Kevin Costner movie. Many of the people had even risked their lives by diving into the submerged buildings to salvage what they could. Many even made a small living by selling and bartering what they salvaged, everything from regular groceries to wedding dresses could be found here, for a price. Considering the size of the sinkhole (almost 10 kilometres in diameter and roughly circular), there was a lot to be found in the sunken shopping centres.
There had been a major outcry from the general public of course. Opposition political parties had had a field day! And after a six month “clean up” and a massive search for bodies, a huge investigation had been launched. There had still been no feedback from the government as to exactly what had happened. He doubted there ever would be.
Life went on in the meantime.
And the tourists loved it.
YAY JJ! What would my weekends be without his encouragement to think…
Anyhoo, I read this little scribble to Damien and he reckons I’m gonna make people scared to come here! I hope that means he likes it…