If I were to write the story of these pictures it would be one of waiting. Of a moth so out of place yet totally at home in a dull parking lot. Waiting for its mate, or perhaps the sun to shine in a place it never will. Of a mother and daughter, sitting in town on plastic chairs, eating cheap biscuits and watching each other’s hair being braided. Of an anxious girl in a printing shop, waiting for her job interview to start. Nervously wringing the umbrella she is holding like she is wringing out stubborn, wet washing.
Of a girl, let’s call her Camilla, who travels a lot without going very far. Who sometimes feels like Pavlov’s dog on a hamster wheel. Who is not very sure of her own journey but whose heart gets made to feel like air in seeing others living their lives in beautiful ways. Whose whole Monday is made by seeing a moth, a mother and a daughter and a girl, waiting.
On Friday morning I spotted these gentlemen sitting outside a cafe’ in Norwood speaking Italian. I love the three gold buttons on the blazer of the man on the left. Ameezing.
This is Hayley. Hayley owns a small corner cafe’ in an industrial park in Cleveland. She has taken much care to decorate her simple shop with colourful shelves and a fantastic range of fake plants and plastic ivy creeping along the walls (everywhere except for in these photos!). When I asked her if she liked living in Joburg she said, ‘I don’t know anywhere else. Business is bad. But this is home’.
See more of the Ameezing People of Joburg series here and here and here.
This is Jeffy. Jeffy moved to South Africa six months ago with her husband (having never been here before). When I asked her if she liked living in Joburg she giggled and said, ‘The crime is bad but the money is good’. And then she giggled some more.
Francina works as a cleaner at the Standard Bank Art Gallery in the city. Quietly mopping the floor, polishing the staircase rails, tidying up after us, the public. When I asked her in my best, hushed, hallowed gallery/museum whisper if I could take her picture she put her hand on my arm and whispered back, ‘Why are you whispering?’ And then, raising her arms like an opera singer, said loudly, ‘It’s just you and me here’.
When I asked Brian how long he has lived in Joburg for, he thought for a bit and replied, ‘A long time’. I asked him what his favourite thing about living here was and he said, ‘Joburg has everything. It is life’.
This is Sanky. Sanky is at least 6 feet tall. I asked him where else in the world would he like to live and he said, ‘Cape Town. And you?’
Shorty’s real name is Esther, but she has been called ‘Shorty’ for as long as she can remember. I asked her which famous person she would most like to marry and she replied, “Ag, no Camilla, I don’t want to get married. But if I had to I would pick John Cena”. When I looked at her blankly she said, “He’s a WWF International Fighting Champion”. Ameezing.