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Ishan Thakore


Hi! My name's Ishan Thakore and I'm a 2016-2017 Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow from East Brunswick, New Jersey. For the next 9 months, I'll be cataloging my "Taming Rivers" project, a visual journey along the Orange and Vaal Rivers in South Africa and potentially other countries. My film project centers on how large-scale infrastructure projects promise broad economic benefits but have much more nuanced effects at the community level. I'm interested in exploring and retelling the individual narratives of people who have been affected by some of these projects.

I spent most of the past year working as a fact-checker for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," a late-night satirical news show. You may be wondering how my skills fact-checking Donald Trump jokes will translate to this project, but I assure you they will. Essentially, in this blog, I hope to mix a degree of levity with a strong attention to detail to give readers a taste of the places I'll be. I've also recently decided to become a millennial and post more on Twitter and Instagram, so follow me to get a behind-the-scenes look at the journey!

Reporter’s Notebook: Voices from the Mekong and Tonlé Sap Lake

Voices and stories from around Tonle Sap Lake and communities affected by the Lower Sesan II dam.

Island-hopping in the Mekong River

Recounting a one-week journey across islands in the Mekong River, near Sambour district, with the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM).

Karoo Stories: Narratives from Gariep and Van der Kloof dams

Farmworkers and farmers share their experiences of working and living near Gariep and Van der Kloof dams on the Orange River.

Karoo Stories: When it rains, it pours

An introduction to my travels following the Orange River into the Karoo, a huge semi-arid area in South Africa. Drought, and the sudden easing of it, is on everyone’s minds in these parts.

A Flaw in the Plan

What happens when progressive laws confront an industrial reality? This is a story of a small community coming to grips with an steel giant.

Challenging Perceptions, Part 2

Joburg doesn’t have a stellar reputation, but people like Michael Luptak and the organization he co-founded, Dlala Nje, are trying to change that. The following podcast is a (brief) look at their story.

Challenging Perceptions: Part 1

Here’s a screenshot my friend sent me before I arrived in Joburg. It sums up what I had heard a few times about the city:  There’s some truth to the narrative that Johannesburg is unsafe. The fences struck me right away. Nearly every house has a fence around it, most topped by barbed (and sometimes…

Taming Rivers: A Fulbright-National Geographic Journey

“Simply, water is surpassing oil itself as the world’s scarcest critical resource. Just as oil conflicts were central to twentieth-century history, the struggle over freshwater is set to shape a new turning point in the world order and the destiny of civilization” — Steven Solomon, Water   The Dam, located in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of…