drought-proof people

African Dispatches for Institute of Current World Affairs
The philosophical basis for the book grew out of a two year study of the causes and consequences of water scarcity in southern Africa, across the Sahara, Negev, Karoo, Kalahari and Namib Deserts, travelling from Cape Town to Cairo and back.
Each story shows individuals and institutions adapting to aspects of drought, based on local needs and capacities.

Monthly reports, titles in order of ICWA publication, Jan 2002-Jan 2004:


  1. Water Meter Wars: ‘Privatization, Protests and Renegade Plumbers.’
  2. Knifing Opportunists: ‘The vacuum along Africa’s first regulated river.’
  3. Smuggling to the San: ‘Water as a weapon in the Central Kalahari.’
  4. Rules of the Game: ‘Rifles, rhinos and access to water.’
  5. Women’s Quest: ‘Long day’s journey into clouds.’
  6. Line in the Sand: ‘Digging in during the dry season.’
  7. African Zion: ‘Homeward bound, away from government and toward resources.’
  8. Potty (Re) Training: ‘Climate, scarcity changes how Africa pees and poops.’
  9. Cutting Edge: ‘Combating the invasion of the water snatchers.’
  10. The Highlanders: ‘Manmade quakes & giant snakes; Africa’s beautiful and the dammed.’
  11. Of Dams & Disease: ‘Triage in an H2O-Negative, HIV-Positive Landscape.’
  12. Shattered Nilometers: ‘After 5,200 years of top-down rule, can scarcity re-democratize Egypt?’
  13. Grapes of Mirth: ‘Fresh Water Becomes Leverage in Race-Based Farm Reform.’
  14. Aquae Incognita: ‘Drawing A Line’ in the Water Breeds African Border Disputes
  15. To Drink a Mirage: The foggiest idea; elusive extraction of water from wind.
  16. Silent Sentinels: ‘Landmines Convert Resources from Combat Catalyst to Civilian Use.’
  17. Pliocene Park: ‘Water Sources Shrink. Elephant Numbers Expand. Uh, Oh.’
  18. Holy Fire, Sacred Water: ‘Namibia’s Himba Caught Between Dam & Dry Place
  19. Kalahari Earthsuckers: San sip-wells vs. roughneck rigs; seducing water from the ground.’
  20. The Gamey Taste of Virtual Water: ‘Recurring Drought Turns Cattle into Kudu’
  21. Bread Basket to Begging Bowl: Dry Zimbabwe’s‘Slow-Track’ Water Derails Mugabe’s ‘Fast-Track’ Land Reform
  22. Upstream vs. Downstream: ‘The Benign Dictatorship of the Mozambican Shrimp’
  23. Apartheid’s Legacy vs. Gravity’s Force: ‘What Goes Up Must Come Down’
  24. The Coming Hydrocracy: ‘Arid Africa as the Water Runs Out’