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Nandoni dam in South Africa’s Limpopo province? No, photo of famous Hoover dam in the US

A photo of the massive Hoover dam in the US is going viral on social media with the claim it shows the Nandoni dam in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

On 7 January 2024 it was tweeted by the anti-migrant X (formerly Twitter) account #PutSouthAfricansfirst with the caption: “Those of you who never been in Limpopo here’s Nandoni dam in Venda.”

The tweet has been viewed more than 46,600 times so far.

The photo shows a massive concrete dam in a dry and rocky landscape. It’s been posted on Facebook with the same caption here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

It’s also been tweeted with this caption: “We Thank President Zuma For Re-Construction Of Nondoni Dam In Venda.”

Jacob Zuma was South Africa’s president from 2009 to 2018 under the banner of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). He has recently become the face of a rival party, uMkhonto Wesizwe, and been suspended by the ANC. South Africa is set to hold elections in 2024.

Limpopo is in South Africa’s northeast. Venda was an apartheid-era “homeland” in today’s Limpopo and remains a common name for the region, near the province’s border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Nandoni dam lies on the Luvuvhu river in Limpopo’s Vhembe district near the town of Thohoyandou. A project of the government’s water and sanitation department, it was completed in 2005.

The dam is the source for the controversial Giyani Bulk Water Project to pipe clean water to households in the region’s villages. The project, recently probed by South Africa’s special investigating unit, has been hit by long delays, allegations of corruption, spiralling costs and demands for compensation.


Much bigger, much older

Africa Check ran the photo through a Google Lens reverse image search. This led us to the original on Getty Images’ iStock photo website.

It was uploaded in 2019. Its description reads: “Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada, USA. View from above.”

The Hoover dam, a hydroelectric dam built on the Colorado river in the 1930s, is famous for its size

The dam wall is 60 storeys high and its reservoir, Lake Mead, has a capacity of 38.3 billion cubic metres of water. Nandoni dam’s capacity is 0.4% of that, at 164 million cubic metres.

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