From a distance, Alex looks interesting. The closer you get, the harder it is to see. It can be beautiful, in a flowering African Thorn Bush kind of way. The flowers are pretty–sort of. The thorns can do some real damage. Among the thorns in Alex, there is an energy, growing, changing. In spite of the harshness of conditions, there was a softness in the faces of people. Not all were willing to let me take their picture. Some approached with angry words. Others turned away or hid. But, for those who stood their ground or gave permission, I could see a light, hard light perhaps, in their eyes. The noon-day sun did not make for the best photographs. However, in the hard light of the noon-day sun, when I put on my sunglasses, I could see hope.
You can meet elderly fashionistas in the most unlikely places.
I wish I knew what they were thinking.
In Alex, as in many parts of the world, the children are resilient–joyful and resilient.
She let me take her picture. She said I could. But I felt a sadness in her cloudy eyes.
She stood her ground. Our worlds were alien, mine to hers and hers to mine. I could feel her questioning, challenging–who are you? What do you want? I had no tools to bridge the gulf between us. When I took her photo and she ran away.
His curiosity got the better of him as he peeked around the corner of a wall. I smiled and he smiled back.
This little baby modestly hides from the camera as his Mother gives him an outdoor bath.
In Alex, unemployment, drugs, gangs and violence are part of the landscape of daily life. Barbed wire is one small means of protecting the children.
When you live in the dirt and the dust fills the air, everyday is wash day in Alex.
When you have to haul your own water and boil your laundry, it takes creativity to stir your laundry.
Children and Mothers hold hands for guidance, protection and hope throughout the world.
Amidst the rubble of decay, a fresh coat of paint and a little tar for the roof go along way.
A woman selects delicious fresh fruit at the Alexendra Market.
He knew I wasn’t buying. He made no move to draw me in. The wooden frame kept me from approaching. Yet, his gaze was penetrating.
They seemed like bars, the wooden frames. To keep me out or hold him in, I did not know which was more damning.
Two boys were playing in the remains of old construction. When they saw my camera, they stopped and stared, uncertain. Go away, we’re playing. They didn’t say it, but I got the message.
A child can find pure joy amidst the most challenging of circumstances.
I showed him the picture I took. Harmless. On to the adventure.
As this woman crossed the bridge, I asked if I could take her picture. When I showed her the picture, she laughed and laughed. She couldn’t understand why I wanted her picture.
It takes skill, practice and great strength to balance the challenges of life in Alex.
A young man listens to his MP3 player from an elevated place in Alex.
Rarely enough, a snack may be be the only food for that day in Alex.
Dirt and rubble are the playground for this young princess.
Amidst the dirt on the ground and the dust in the air, laundry may dry in the sunshine but it won’t be clean.
As long as a child can smile, there is hope.
Mothers in Alex carry their babies, sometimes on their backs, sometimes in front, the weight of better times for future generations.
This little boy seems to know sorrow beyond his young age.
Red and green, blue and yellow, opposites and contrasts, the story of life in Alex for two sisters.
Official unemployment figures hover around 37%. In Alex, the real figures are much higher as many men have simply given up looking for a job.
A young mother carries her baby to and from the market in Alex.
With a cloth wrap, most women carry their babies on their backs. When the get too big, or it gets too hot, the loose the wrap.
This little boy plays in the dirt while his Mom sells fruit at a stand in the market.
To make a living, many women conduct entrepreneurial street trading enterprises, selling produce and other goods.
Two employed mechanics enjoy their idle time waiting for work.
The barren landscape of Alex Market is both playground and refuge for children of resourceful mothers.
In Alex market, children watch and wait as parents, mostly mothers buy and sell.
3 thoughts on “Alexandra Township, South Africa–The People Inside”
Fascinating and humbling.
When I went to Africa, people asked me if I’d been before. They said, “Africa changes you.” I have to agree. The people, the place, the experience is transformative. Thanks for your comment. As you know, I enjoy your work, too.
Reblogged this on http://www.newsafrica.co.uk.