The legendary Golden Fleece of Greek mythology was the prize for the best men of the times. Since then, there have been many generations of Argonauts who have undertaken journeys to the edges of their worlds in search of the ultimate prize. Human moles who exist in the Netherworld of underground tunnels under the southern tip of Africa are perhaps the most miserable of the world’s gold seekers.
They dig this gold not for their profit, but for that of the gold companies which have become some of the greatest power brokers of the modern age. For every tonne of gold mined, these miners have paid with one life and twelve serious injuries. South Africa, Latin America, the Gold Coast, California, Australia – these were some of the lands where the discovery of gold led to settlement and progress. They too had their Argonauts. Men who journeyed to the edges of their known world, braving the elements to strike it rich. Their gold rich was infectious, but so were the diseases they brought with them: cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis and gonorrhea.
Broadcast: April 21, 2000