Nathenje — The gold rush is only four months old in Nathenje, Malawi, but already there are thousands of prospectors digging, shoveling and sifting soil in the age-old search for a nugget that will transform their lives. “Iyi, iyi,” (“Here, here!”) is the cry when an excited miner spots any speck of the precious metal and others eagerly gather round at the site, 20km south of the capital Lilongwe. Traders from neighbouring countries have been paying up to $34 a gram for the gold, according to one local official. But first you have to find it. And much of the hard work done here, in scorching temperatures, brings only disappointment. The miners — many of them women — head back down the deep holes dug on the riverbanks of Nathenje river. They emerge with buckets on their heads and, after the silt has been trucked a short distance to drier ground, carefully pour the wet dirt onto a sieve to wash away sediment and examine the remains for signs of gold. Tandizeni Natani barely knew what ...

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