By Stephanie Urdang
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Extra resources for And They Still Dance: Women, War, and the Struggle for Change in Mozambique
Either the water was too deep or the sand and riverine deposits made them unsuitable foundations for the dam wall. Then interest was shifted to a new site X' almost at the entrance to the gorge, just below the confluence of the Sanyati and Zambesi rivers. Although few peopl_e realized it at the time, the long search was over. Almost within the shadow of the rock from which Kariba had derived its name, on the thres hold of the river-god's altar, the challenge to his might would be made Already it must have seemed as if he was in retreat.
A quotation from the Rhodesian magazine The Outpost reflects well the spirit of these men, the pathfinders of Kariba : The road went ahead like a family business, each yard forward a personal achievement for the watermen and their Department. As they moved on, they commemorated their achieve ments by naming the more difficult sections of the road as they conquered them. Today, the traveller to Kariba sees these romantic names on signboards. They are marked too on the Federal Survey Map, and rightly will never be forgotten-Camp Hill, Razor Ridge , Kidney Hill, Puff Adder Ridge, Buffalo Nek, Rhino Nek, The Basin; further on, Savory's Folly, a name which could have been an epitaph for the whole road, abandoned and soon swallowed up by the hungry bush had it not succeeded so magnificently.
For six months all traces of man's work within the channel of the Zambesi, except for the stolid piers built to support a future road bridge, were to disap pear. The beginnings of the coffer dam were covered by the waters which rose sixteen feet in one night on Christ mas Eve. The timbers of the pontoon bridge, which had differed in its engineering principles as little as it differed in its appearance from the first structure which Caesar built over the Rhine, had been swept to the sea. Only a cable way carrying a skip to take passengers and goods connected the two shores.