(See last weeks story and others here.)

Click here to receive Africa Now in your Email !
We promise to keep your e-mail address a secret.

Copyright(C) 2003 You and Africa. All Rights Reserved.
We are in Mpumalanga,
South Africa.
Some of the earliest
gold claims were staked here.
On a small scale
gold is still being coaxed
out of the ground.

Come with me and
I will show you how!
This stream
looks very promising.
Let's take a sample
to find out.
Now we can start mining.
First we build a chute and cover it with carpets like these.
Now we need a bowl
with holes in the bottom.
Then we wash gravel
from the stream in it.

The fine mud
will run over the carpets,
leaving the heavier gold
lodged between the fibres.
When the carpets have gathered enough,
we wash the gold-rich mud out.

Mixed with mercury, the gold will dissolve in it
and is squeezed out through a cloth,
leaving the mud behind.
We boil off the mercury in a fire and finally our gold is there,
ready to be taken to the shop.

I hope you have not decided to make this your career,
because in most places it is illegal and,
if you are not clever and sneak around in the bushes,
it will land you in jail very quickly.

If you are one of the clever ones who don't get caught,
you will find your teeth and hair falling out from mercury poisoning!