The bittersweet beauty of our emptying dams


The Western Cape is in the grips of its worst drought in decades. Sporadic rains and emptying dams have created a looming crisis. The province is parched. Chapped. And still some don’t see the need to restrain their use of the precious water we have left. Liesel Kershoff has taken it upon herself to spur action by documenting the effect that this torrid season is having on the land through timelapse photography. Her imagery is painfully beautiful, a final cry to her fellow South Africans to consider every drop.

Kershoff has always felt deeply connected to nature. Growing up she felt sure she would one day become a wildlife photographer. After school she spent two years exploring the foreign beauty of Israel, working on a flower farm. Upon her return home she took a job as a secretary, but didn’t last long. Kershoff needed to be closer to nature. So, along with her sister, she started a fruit and vegetables store in Caledon. Photography had become an afterthought.

It was her husband who years later gave her the film camera that reignited her interest in imagery. After taking a home photography course and teaching herself through books and online material, Kershoff bought her first DSLR camera. Landscapes naturally became her obsession. So she was one of the first to notice the sickness creeping over the land as it began to dehydrate many months ago. She has been keeping track ever since. There’s an eerie feel about this project that should get us all thinking – and that’s Kershoff’s goal. If her project leads to increased awareness and saving of water, she will have reached her goal.