Conclusion. “Southern Treasures” profiles two faces of South Africa's mining industry: veteran miner Putswa Tekane and Xoliswa Vanda, the only woman in a mine employing 5000. Vanda, 26, has ambitions to be a manager, something no South African woman has accomplished. But first she must pass a rigorous exam. Tekane, a poet and Catholic lay preacher from Lesotho, has mixed feelings about his job. He hates the fact that it keeps him away from his family most of the year, but it pays well and he doesn't want to lose it: Layoffs are endemic for miners. And for his younger colleagues, so is AIDS.
“The Leopards of Zanzibar” (Part 7 of eight) profiles young “free-diving” fishermen on the Tanzanian island off Africa's Swahili Coast. Leopards is the name of their amateur soccer team, which is their passion. “They think about only one thing,” says a woman in their village. But dive they must to make a living, and one fisherman, Issa Simai, can go down 60 feet (for three minutes) in search of octopus. And when he needs more money (for a trip to Dar es Salaam for an important match) he dives for lobster. They're hard to catch but they bring big money at tourist hotels. Joe Morton narrates.
Part 6 (of eight) profiles a Ugandan Lake Victoria fisherman and a Tanzanian rice-farming couple. Both are gambling on “Restless Waters.” Overfishing and pollution have depleted Lake Victoria fish stocks, so Charles Tinkewimeru decides to buy a boat big enough to ferry tourists on the lake. Some 500 miles away in Tanzania's Kilombero Valley, Amanda and Simone Ngwatima have planted their crop. Rain is key---too little and the rice won't grow; too much and it'll “drown,” says Amanda. This year, the rains are late and hungry hippos are raiding their land. Joe Morton narrates.
“Mountains of Faith” (Part 4 of eight) profiles two young Ethiopians who are embarking on very different life paths: one wants to be a Christian priest, the other an entrepreneur. But spirituality is important to the budding businessman, too. He's 15-year-old Artisagne, who left his farming village for Addis Ababa, the capital, where he's shining shoes (for now) and saving up for presents when he returns home for the religious festival Maskal. Meanwhile, Kibkab, 16, is facing “a major spiritual test,” says narrator Joe Morton, that will determine his future in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
“Voices of the Forest” (Part 3 of eight) charts life in central Africa's Congo basin, “a vast green blanket,” says narrator Joe Morton, that's home to the Baka people (once called Pygmies), who have been living in villages for less than 40 years. But they still draw their sustenance from the forest. So, too, do loggers, and the Cameroonian Baka profiled here must send a delegation “to confront the outside world.” In Ghana, much of the forest is already gone, which makes it difficult for carpenter Annan Cedi to find wood for the “fantasy coffins” he fashions.
“Desert Odyssey” (Part 2 of eight) follows Adam Ilius, a 9-year-old boy from Niger, on his first caravan across the Sahara, a six-month, 1500-mile trek along “camel superhighways.” Of course it's dangerous. “No one goes into the desert unless they have to,” says narrator Joe Morton. The purpose of the caravan: to buy and sell salt, and these days there's competition from trucks. The hour also explores the Sahara's “secret past” (6000 years ago it was a grassland) and surveys the wildlife along the way. Life isn't easy for scorpions and hyenas. And for birds, “the maggots on a dead camel are a feast.”
“Savanna Homecoming” (Part 1 of eight) profiles two women in East Africa's savanna. It is “the place where we were born,” says narrator Joe Morton. And as it happens Nairobi hair-salon owner Alice Wangui is about to give birth herself. But not in Nairobi. “I want my kid to follow the culture and know where she came from,” Wangui says. So she heads to her home village. Flora Salonik was born in a city (Arusha, Tanzania), but married a hunter-gatherer in the interior. Salonik loves him, but desperately misses her family and life in town, and has a decision to make.