The Johannesburg CBD is cramped with people who come from all over the continent; they arrive in the City of Gold with aspirations of creating better lives for themselves. They leave their hometowns or home countries with very little, hoping that their journey into the unknown yields superior opportunities.For many of these off-comers, a trip that might have started with anticipation and weighty conviction usually ends with homelessness and extreme poverty, forcing them to survive under really devastating conditions. Many of them end up living in the cheapest and sometimes the most harmful buildings in the city. These sometimes range from debilitating or illegally occupied and hijacked buildings. These are the same buildings that some residents have recently been forced to move away from when the city decided to revamp, leaving the poor battling for housing.When photographer and storyteller, Tshepiso Mabula, heard about the evictions, she says she rushed to Doorfontein hoping to capture the evictions with her camera. Tshepiso’s visit ended up documenting what’s become a riveting photo essay that followed both those who were forced to move and the people hired to make it happen.The 25-year-old writer and photographer self-identifies as someone who captures the dignity of ordinary people, far removed from the glamorous or ideal atmospheres of high-profile photography.Tshepiso is a visual observer of Bantu living as well as a storyteller who believes that her calling is to produce work that promotes equity and social unity, seeking to correct the injustices that exist in our everyday culture. To her social justice means being able to embrace our similarities as a people while working towards creating a society where all can live freely without prejudice.‘This essay looks at the relationships people create with the spaces they inhabit using the recent evictions of residents in Johannesburg buildings.This essay looks at how people from the same socio-economic spectrum were pitted against each other in a single day, how one group moved from evicting people who are as poor as them to playing soccer in the street and cordoning off the building, and how the other was left homeless and hopeless after being evicted from the homes they created.The purpose of this essay is to highlight the housing problem in Johannesburg inner city and how it affects the relationships that people build among each other.’ – Tshepiso
She also points out that her passion to tell this type of story through her work was inspired by the fact that ‘As a child of a working-class family from the rural Eastern Cape, I know all too well how it feels to have to recreate a home, far away from home.’Tshepiso’s photo series scored her not only a nomination but also a big win in our #COM. Creative of the Month is a bi-monthly competition that is meant to celebrate creatives within our community. We hope with each nomination and with each win, current recruits and our alumni are always inspired to create and exhibit their best work!
Congratulations Tshepiso hope you enjoy your prize!
To see the rest of the photo essay, visit her Behance website here: https://goo.gl/8aEKmU