Children play in an impoverished township on the outskirts of Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 26, 2013. Stretching across the heart of South Africa, the Karoo has stirred emotions for centuries, a ... more 
Children play in an impoverished township on the outskirts of Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 26, 2013. Stretching across the heart of South Africa, the Karoo has stirred emotions for centuries, a stunning semi-desert wilderness fit mainly for artists, hunters and the toughest of farmers. It is now rousing less romantic passions. If energy companies and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) get their way, it will soon be home to scientists and geologists mapping out shale gas fields touted as game-changers for Africa's biggest economy, and working out whether fracking will work here. Some residents fear hydraulic fracturing will pollute scarce water supplies and destabilise agriculture, which has for three centuries been the mainstay of the local economy. Picture taken October 26, 2013. To match Insight SAFRICA-FRACKING/ REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SOCIETY POVERTY ENVIRONMENT ENERGY BUSINESS) ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 11 OF 26 FOR PACKAGE 'SOUTH AFRICA - WATER, WEALTH AND FRACKING' TO FIND ALL IMAGES SEARCH 'FRACKING HUTCHINGS' less 
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Reuters | Photo By MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS
Mon, Oct 28, 2013 8:37 AM EDT