Friday, December 12, 2008
The townships of South Africa are not a for the faint hearted. On a recent assignment in Khayelitsha, Cape Town's largest township, I used public transport to and from the location. The pedestrian bridge from the station delivers you into the business part of C Section. There is a woman slaughtering chickens on the pavement, the blood flowing into the storm water drains. There are sheeps heads known as smileys which are being prepared by an elderly man who chuckles as he points out the obvious and calls me 'umlungu'. I hear that phrase just about everyday of my life.
To borrow one of Syd Kitchen's album titles, Africa is not for sissies. A western eye may see a life of hardship but there are signs in the townships of a good life. I love the fact the people do not have walls and razor wire around their homes as in the upmarket suburbs. The kids play in the streets as we did when we were kids. Neighbours gather and talk leaning on gate posts.
A week or so after the image was made I sat and looked at and realised that I had some of the detail. There is a phrase in the top right painting that says 'We Care 4 U Forshore'. After so much bad news recently not just here but globally, I found that strangely encouraging.
I found a great film when I was checking on Syd Kitchen, well worth a look.