JoziFolk - images of everyday life in South Africa

 August 2014

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On the mean streets of Cape Town.

Image: Juhan Kuus


A teenage girl and her 10 day-old baby. Nineteen people live in two rooms. Only one of them has occasional work.


I photographed these people outside their two-roomed house that was once part of the outbuildings of a farm. 19 people live in the two rooms, including three young girls, all under the age of 18, with babies under three months old.

Of the 19 occupiers only one has piece work. They survive only because an NGO supplies food parcels every month.


On the streets of Cape Town.


Image: Juhan Kuus 

Mother City Queer Project, Cape Town


Image: Juhan Kuus 

"I scrimped and saved so I could pay my own way at college where I passed the theory modules required for a Marketing Management Diploma. I now need to do 18 months of practical work before I finally qualify. I'm hoping to find an internship with a large company."


Cape Flats youngster with his dog after it was inoculated by an animal welfare organisation in the township. The organisation strives to offer free veterinary services and education in townships around Cape Town.


Image: Juhan Kuus

"I live in a hostel with no water or electricity and all the windows and doors are broken but back home in Kwa Zulu I have many, many cows."

So what are you doing here?

"I do piece jobs. I'm a gardener but can also paint, weld and build. The cows are for when I am old. If I moved back home now I would eat my money before I am old."


"My daughter was murdered nine years ago and I just shut down. I stopped doing needle-work. My little girl always made stuff and gave it away at Christmas but I saw no purpose. I didn't do anything. Who was I going to make things for?

"But one day I realised I'm not the first and only person to lose a child this way and since then I've been trying to help people who face similar situations. Whenever I feel anxious or depressed I knit."


"Many militaria collectors like to dress up and talk to people. That way it becomes a sort of living history that can be seen and experienced rather than something tucked away in a cabinet.

"This is the Kaiserliche Marine uniform of a World War one submarine commander."


What are the three things in life that give you the most pleasure?

"Boobs, bikes and beer."


"If I were President I would announce a new national policy called "Muddle through for grown-ups".

"It would see the scrapping of government ministries and related functions dealing with sport, arts, women, youth, along with an end to all race-based law and incentives.

"Shares in half the state-owned enterprises would be given free to every adult citizen for them to save, borrow against, sell; and the other half would be sold off. Personal income tax would be cut in half.

"And I would forbid all members of my party to engage in racial baiting or reference as far as possible."


Seen at the annual Arms and Ammunition Collectors' Fair. The starting-up of the Soviet T-34 tank always draws a crowd.


"My two favourite armies are the Russians and the Germans from the Second World War."

So why are you wearing an American uniform?

"Because it's what I've got. I know this is a German rifle. Let's just pretend it was captured."

What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I don't know. I've still got a lot of time to think about that."


"I'm 71 and been cutting hair for 54 years now. My three sons and my grandson are also in the business now. I didn't buy this van to set it up as a mobile barber shop but converted it when I needed to supplement my monthly income."



 "For years I ran a big salon in Pretoria. A long time ago, when I started cutting black people's hair, some of my regular clients complained and threatened to take their business elsewhere. I said, if that's the case then you'd better stop going to restaurants as well. In the end no-one left.

"I probably do better here than I did when I had a salon."


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Streets of Johannesburg. 

(Hilton Hamann)


Street photography. Johannesburg


Image: Hilton Hamann 

Cooking is done in the room on a wood stove made from a drum under which a fire is made.


Children with children. Two of the teenage girls who share a two-roomed house with 17 other people. Both have babies that are not yet three months old.


"My dear wife died two months ago. We knew each other for 60 years and were married for 58 of those.

"Twenty four years ago, she said God told her she had to feed the poor and we started a soup kitchen for the street people of Alberton. In a few years maybe no-one will even remember who she was except her "soupies", whose lives she brightened.

"Before she died I promised her I would keep the soup kitchen going as a sort of living memorial to her.

"I miss her terribly."


"I was a teacher for 50 years. I taught Art, Afrikaans and Technology. If we're going to produce good citizens, teachers must teach kids responsibility, dedication and to keep an open mind.

"That is more important now than it's ever been and a teacher can teach students anything if he or she is dedicated."


The gulf between rich and poor in Cape Town is enormous and life on the streets is tough.

Image: Juhan Kuus 


"The secret to happiness is to be contented and accept your situation. Life goes on and it is the simple things that really make you happy. As long as I have good food and am comfortable, I am contented."


In the townships of the Cape Flats, animal welfare organisations fight an uphill, never-ending struggle to provide care and support. They offer free veterinary services and education. While the people are desperately poor - and feeding and caring for a pet is a luxury - many love their animals as much as do people who live in the wealthy suburbs of Cape Town.


Image by Juhan Kuus

"I collected this load this morning and am now on my way to the paper-recyclers."


"It's funny how when I ride my touring motorcycle people come up to me and chat but as soon I ride my superbike and wear my club colours there is a change. They treat me differently and avoid me. I suddenly become this evil outlaw biker but I'm the same person who rides the tourer."


"My biggest regret is I didn't spend more time on myself and spent too much on other people.

"Now it's too late. For example, I can't go dancing with my wife because her knee is damaged and all thoughts of walking around Europe one day are over."


 "I'm the first person in my household to pass matric and get a tertiary qualification. My brothers pushed and encouraged me to do so and now I've become their inspiration. They saw what I achieved and are now working towards doing the same."


"I am the Station and Programme Manager of a community radio station in Johannesburg. In 1994, when radio was democratized, it was supposed to break the monopolies.

"But the truth is getting a commercial radio licence is like having a licence to print money. As a result, huge conglomerates sprang up and, if they could, they'd have us shut down in a moment.

"It's an uphill battle for community radio stations but I am optimistic about the future. Community radio is going in the same direction as community newspapers, in that can do stuff commercial stations can't or won't.

"We present organisations that would never be featured on the commercial stations. We tell the stories of NGOs, little soup kitchens and community events. We are a part of the community."


 Seen at the annual Arms and Ammunition Collectors' Fair.


"I start collecting anything I can sell to the recyclers at about 6:30 in the morning, when people start putting out their garbage. I have to get it to the factory by 2:30 in the afternoon. It's dirty work but at least I can put a crust of bread on the table most days."


"I was involved in the food industry as a journalist and consultant and always interested in sustainability and community development.

"I wanted to prove it could work so we bought a farm and now have between 50 and 100 local people involved in farming and food processing operations.

"Everything grown is organic. We're bringing real food back to the community.

"In addition, we train people how to grow, process and cook their produce."


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