Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the tag “photography”

Portraits of South Africa

This photo by photographer Ryan Roake is part of a photo series which captures the diversity of the people living in Missionvale, Red Location, an area on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. The aim of the series was to capture the brighter side of this area and its people. Do you think it succeeded?

Click here for more photos from this series.

What would your portrait of South Africa look like?

Photo of the Month: Child-like Prayer

“On a recent assignment out in the rural areas of St. Lucia, KZN, I stopped in at a local school to photograph their awareness of indigenous trees. On arrival at the school it was assembly time and I came across a very heart-warming experience. Around 400 school children were saying their daily prayer, but there was something different about this everyday morning prayer. Each child was praying from their heart and with all their might.

“Recently, I have been reading how we should come to God in prayer as a child and this picture really spoke to me about what that really means. It was not only the words of the prayer but the emotions on the children’s faces: complete faith, belief, trust and focus on who they were praying to. Looking back at this photo, I felt so humbled to pray to God like a child, with all my heart and with all my might!” – Em Gatland

– Em Gatland is a photographer based in Kwa-Zulu Natal. To view more photos from her trip to St. Lucia, click here.

Photo of the Month (September)

Photograph by Margie Jansen

“This photo is of a group of children – mostly siblings and cousins – who live in the very rural community of Belfast near the Kruger Park. The tap is adjacent to an RDP home where I did a ‘community stay’ with Thuli and her brother Sipho, who are both orphaned. The water story is interesting. The tap in the photo is linked to a big JoJo tank which is filled every month by the local government. Every month, a big truck pulls up and fills the tank. People queue with 25 litre containers to fill straight from the truck. It’s an exceptionally dry area, more so than White River which is about 80km away. When I was there, there were frequent protests, sometimes violent, when the community their anger about infrequent water delivery.” – Margie Jansen

– Margie is the coordinator of Micah Challenge South Africa, a national campaign that aims to promote maternal and child health and to mobilise the Church to keep our leaders accountable to their promises. Follow Margie on her blog,

August Photo of the Month

By Richard Bolland

This photo is of myself (centre) sitting with two close friends. We come from three very different backgrounds. I come from a middle class white suburban background. Ash (on the left) comes from a hard life growing up in Durban and living in the shelters of Cape Town. Mashudu (on the right) grew up in the Northern Cape, had to brave the streets of Cape Town when he lost his job but now lives in an informal settlement in Langa. We decided to set the photo up like this to show that walls can be broken down, cultures can merge, race can be overlooked. We all enjoy the simple pleasures of life. So that’s what we’re doing. Watching television together as sons of one Father.

Until a couple of years ago, I’d often find myself getting back from a hard days work in the film industry, relaxing on my six-seater couch – paid for with my hard earned money – and enjoying some of Woolworth’s finest. There’s me on the couch flicking on the news. Watching how a group of shacks has burned down. Watching how our education system is getting caught up in corruption. The figures for gang violence in Manenberg come on the screen. As my heart hardens, I change the channel onto Supersport Blitz. I’d much rather just watch the late night football. But wait. Somethings not right. How have I become so numb to this? What do I have to do? The problem is too big. How could I possibly make a change? Something tells me that changing my Facebook status isn’t going to change much. Maybe I should do this Live Under the Line Challenge? Why not cook a meal for the guys living in the train subway, I think to myself. Maybe assist some of them into a shelter? What about finding out if there’s a place they can finish their matric? It seems like its gonna be difficult. Maybe I should just watch a movie.

Living in South Africa and constantly seeing the pain and suffering has often brought a tear to my eye. But when you start to cry your 500th tear it seems way easier to just harden up and ignore what goes on all around us. It became apparent to me that we are called to sow our tears, in other words, to take that grieving and do something about it. So two years ago I decided to find some similar minded people and work out what we could do. Fast forward two years and my world has been changed completely.

Going to the Haven Night shelter every week gives us middle-class, suburban-bound volunteers an insight into how 13 million people live in South Africa every day. It shows us how an 18-year-old rainbow nation still holds such struggles and pains. We go there every week not out of guilt but rather out of hope. Hope that there is a chance we can make a difference. We have seen people come off the streets. Complete rehab. Find a job. Work their way from a first phase shelter into a second phase shelter. Relapse. Redo rehab. Go back to school. Buy a home. We’ve seen all of this in the last two years we’ve been going there. I’m glad I didn’t just flick the channel and watch that movie all those years ago.

– Richard , 24, is a motion graphics artist and is a member of the Common Ground Wynberg congregation. To find out more about the street and shelter ministry he’s a part of, visit their Facebook page here.

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