National Geographic : 1993 Feb
On Assignment it here was no place in the world I wanted to go to more than South Africa," says CHARLES E. COBB, JR., at left, a staff writer at the GEOGRAPHIC since 1985. Charlie had followed South African issues since he watched the Sharpeville massacre on television in 1960. "The gradual disappear ance of apartheid is the best story in the world today, although it has been overshadowed by events in what were Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union." In the past, foreign reporters had difficulty in South Africa, especially with security officers whose job it was to keep reporters out. "I didn't have those problems," Charlie re calls. "The Afrikaners are anxious to show that they are changing. I'm interested in how people-like min- DAVID C. TURNLEY er Fiki Jokweni [at right]-make the MICHAEL YAMASHITA found even the Society, access wasn't easy. transition from one condition to an- greater satisfaction in exploring the "The Chinese are frightened of the other. It is fascinating to see a soci- delta in Vietnam with ornithologist rapids, the Cambodians are worried ety on the cusp of change." Vo Quy. "I expected to find scars about being shot by the Khmer from the Vietnam War," Tom says, Rouge, the Laotians are suspicious The first Western journalists to "but what I saw were newgrown for- of Westerners. Yet when I con reach the headwaters of the Mekong ests, huge flocks of returning birds, vinced people to take me out, they River in China, THOMAS O'NEILL and curious, welcoming people." loved that sense of freedom that (below, at right) and photographer For Tom, a 17-year veteran with comes with traveling on the water." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHENATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W ., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SENDADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.