Many Rivers to Cross | Conflict Zones, Boundaries and Shared Waters is an artist’s book comprising four volumes that focus on three major river courses in South Africa, namely the Gariep, Great Fish and Vaal rivers. The book comprises four volumes that focus on three major river courses in South Africa, namely the Gariep, Great Fish and Vaal rivers. This book is informed by the rich historical and archaeological arena in which successive power struggles played themselves out across these rivers; by the entangled conflicts of diverse human populations that inhabited our land around these rivers and by the complex relationships between colonial contact and terrain. In a country with extremely limited and fragile water resources, these three rivers also constitute important water courses that are linked in a web of shared waters or inter-basin transfer systems that play a significant role in sustaining water for industrial, agricultural and domestic use, serving as the lifelines for most of the country’s population. With the rapidly increasing demands placed on their waters, and the toxic effluents being drained into them, these three rivers are at risk.
Considering the conflict that has taken place along and across these rivers, Keith Dietrich uses them as metaphors for the pain and suffering that our country has undergone. At the same time they also represent the importance of shared water for the future hope and survival of our country. The images in the book map the body over the land. Suffering and hope are depicted as patterns and centres of energy superimposed over riverbeds, while bodily organs and circulatory systems mirror these river catchments as webs and folds of life.
Text supplied by Keith Dietrich: http://www.keithdietrich.co.za