PROJECT: Smallmouth Yellowfish (Labeobarbus Aeneus)
ARTIST: Deon TerBlanche

The installation of an Orange-Vaal Smallmouth Yellowfish was constructed to create awareness of the plight of yellowfish in the Vaal River system.

Currently, there are three areas of concern:

1.) Pollution of the Vaal River as a result of the neglect of water treatment facilities by local authorities. The main culprits are the Emfuleni and Ngwathe municipalities; both are pumping raw sewage into the Vaal River System causing the death of thousands of fish downstream.

2.) Packaging pollution (styrofoam, plastic bags and bottles).

3.) Illegal netting and cruel fish traps in and around Parys offer a
significant challenge.

– Constructed October 2018 from local Parys Granite and wire.
– Measures 7-meters x 1.5-meters.
– Weight estimated at 350+kg.
– 90+ rocks were suspended mid-air.
– Completed over a period of four days by artist and two assistants.
– Fixed to the Provincial bridge that crosses the Vaal River at Parys.

Situated at Egweni River Lodge, a favourite tourist spot on the banks of the Vaal River. Mounted between the pillars of the Provincial bridge connecting the Free State and the North-West Province. The piece was placed to be visible from other lookout points as far as 500m away. Illegal netting is implied by a multitude of wires that haphazardly criss-cross around the fish exactly as an unlawful net would. Depending on the time of day the piece looks completely different. I have included photo’s taken throughout the day. The “unlawful netting wires” only start to catch the light after 15:00 in the afternoon. To me early morning around 8:00 is the best time to visit. When I was there early this morning the piece was blessed by a flight of swallows. It was breathtaking to observe them flying around and through the sculpture as if it was not even there!

* To create a stone fish that cannot be missed and grabs the attention of passers-by and tourists to the area.
* Attempt to highlight pollution and the practice of illegal netting taking place along the river.



The Vaal Action Group (“VAG”) is a group established to take action to address the pressing environmental challenges that threaten the Vaal River system. Please join the group (no charge) for up to date information on the crisis surrounding the Vaal River System –

The cost of the project (wire, sundries & assistants) was sponsored by:
* Stonehenge in Africa (conference and wedding venue in Parys) –
* La Oma Butchery (artisan butcher of choice to gourmet restaurants and lodges in the Free State and Gauteng) –
* Local Parys photographer and artist, Deon TerBlanche donated his time and expertise to the cause –


FURTHER READING:…/vaal-river-suffocates-under-filthy-……/listen-vaal-river-pollution-has-reac……/faulty-treatment-units-the-cause-o…/…/sewage-crisis-leaves-vereeniging-parent……/fishy-tales-vaal-river-ed-herbst-……/1561-environmentalists-call-for-…

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