CNN Inside Africa anchor Errol Barnett does his piece to camera, with a dune in the background, while cameraman Peter Rudden directs the shot. The team was in Durban recently looking at the local issues of sand-dune mining and shark attack prevention methods. Pictures: Puri Devjee, Aja Harris

When development and conservation are pitted against each other, the issues that emerge often share a common thread.

That’s what a CNN Inside Africa team found during film in the province late last month, focusing on two issues that they believe have both a strong “KwaZulu-Natal” flavour as well as a wide, universal appeal.

The crew, consisting of anchor Errol Barnett, from England, American Aja Harris (producer) and South African cameraman Peter Rudden started their day on Umdloti Beach, looking for an ideal dune to film, while Barnett did his opening piece to camera.

“We are always looking for the perfect shot,” said Barnett, as he and the rest of the crew, walked about 3km from an Umhlanga hotel to the dune near Umdloti.

The second part of the day focused on the KZN Sharks Board.

The board’s Lindiwe Osazuwa talked about the debate around the use of shark nets and efforts being made to reduce by-catch – the number of other marine animals caught in the nets.

“Sharks are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.

“Most of them get caught on the way out, which means that they have the ability to negotiate their way through them,” she said.


The two issues were selected on the basis of their “universal appeal”, said Barnett.

“We look for stories that say something about a place and that are interesting and fascinating,” said Barnett.

“Shark attack prevention efforts and sand dune mining) might be unique to here (KZN), but they represent universal challenges.

“Every time you have wildlife and ecological issues coming up against human development, people can relate to that anywhere in the world.”

“The more people watch the programme, the more people will realise that what’s happening in Africa is just like what’s happening elsewhere in the world.”

Harris said that sourcing their content involved days of research.

“We sit with a number of ideas. We look at what stands out and also what’s possible in the amount of time we have,” said Harris, who had previously worked in production in New York and in Atlanta as a video journalist.

Durban-born Peter Rudden often freelances for CNN for their feature programmes, and has been working as a cameraman for over 20 years.

“It’s good to come back to Durban… these issues, while they haven’t been resolved, have encouraged groups to change their approach.”

He said that he had seen the dune rehabilitation while it had still been in its infancy, and said that he could see a genuine effort towards conservation.

“It’s been 18 years since I’ve been there, and I can see big changes,” he said.

* Inside Africa on CNN International airs every Fridays at 6.30pm, on Saturday at 12.30pm and 7.30pm, Sunday at 5.30am and 4.30am and Monday at 6.30am