Gold Pirates Wage a Dirty, Underground War

We move cautiously into a narrow gap in the mineshaft and cross from the orange dusk of the South African veldt into absolute darkness. Beneath us is a subterranean realm that plunges more than a mile into the earth’s core, a hellish place where touch eclipses sight and the rule of law is handed down by desperate men, armed with home-made grenades and machetes.

From deep within this abandoned gold mine comes the distant hack-hack of heavy drilling. “Zama Zama,” says our guide, clutching his old Mauser rifle. “Gold pirates.” His eyes bulge with fear.

The suffocating air smells of diesel fuel and ammonia in a shaft that has not seen natural light since it was sealed by its owners nearly 20 years ago.

The tunnel stretching before us winds down and splits into two. “If we take it, can we make it back?” I ask our guard. Gripping his woefully inadequate weapon, he puts his index finger to his mouth and whispers: “They are right beneath us.”

His face is a mask of terror as we hear the distant crack of a pistol. “They are warning us. They will move up the shaft and kill us. It is time to go.”

Read More

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: