Understanding the history of apartheid in South Africa was a primary reason for my visit. I just couldn’t comprehend how a country with a white population of fewer than 10% could so dominate a black majority. Touring key struggle sites and speaking to both former political prisoners and pro-apartheid South Africans opened my eyes and heart. But the emotional impact remains.
The South Africa of 2010, with a black majority rule since the first election in 1994, still struggles to overcome the decades of oppression. Almost 60% of the population lives below the poverty line; the townships formed by apartheid still exist.
These photos were taken in the townships of Soweto and Alexandra on Oct. 6, 2010 as I toured with Robin Binckes, an extraordinary white South African storyteller. What makes him unique is that he lived through, and participated in, the apartheid era. He is also the founder of Friends of Alexandra, an NGO supporting Alexandra’s underprivileged and orphaned children. As we traveled the mostly dirt roads, chatting with local adults and children, I was amazed at the spark of life, the resilience, and the tenacity of the people.
Soweto, an urban area of 44 townships, home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, among others, is now enjoying a lower middle class resurgence. Alexandra, a township characterized by poor infrastructure, inadequate services, high crime and a severe environment, has the name of ‘Dark City.’ Yet, the people of both townships were present, engaging, spirited and walking the Streets of Hope.
South Africa is only 17 years post election, and freedom and prosperity take time. With these photographs I hope to spotlight, and bring awareness to, an area of the world that needs our attention.
It is to these people of Soweto and Alexandra that I dedicate these photos and its accompanying book of the same name http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2421549
ALL PROFIT FROM SALES OF BOOK AND PHOTOGRAPHS WILL DE DONATED TO FRIENDS OF ALEXANDRA ( http://www.friendsofalex.org.za
) TO CONTINUE TO NURTURE THE SPARK OF LIGHT IN EACH OF THE CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES IT TOUCHES.
Thank you for your interest.