“Tia Gigi, I want to put my feet in the water,” says my energetic nephew as he removes his shoes, simultaneously jumping up and running at full sprint towards the river.
“Nooooo….!” I yell, breaking into a run, hoping to catch him before he does something that’s potentially going to harm him.
I catch up to him moments before those dirty little feet (he’s 7, I don’t think 7-years olds’ feet are ever clean) touch the water.
Looks pretty doesn’t it? That’s the Klein Jukskei river, one of the tributaries of the Jukskei river, as it winds its way through the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. What is not clear from the photo below is that is a highly polluted river because it also winds its way through industrial areas and other areas where effluent is discharged into the water.
I imagine that many decades ago the clarity of the water was pristine and one could see right to the bottom. Now it is murky and has an unnatural colour in places where the blue is too blue and opaque, a clear sign that the water is polluted.
My nephew was nonplussed but he made the most of the situation by throwing pebbles into the water and seeing how far they would land.