JoziFolk - images of everyday life in South Africa


Trading stores, grandfathers and memories of meals cooked on a wood stove

iPhone photography, Magaliesburg
Hassen's General Dealer Store in Maanhaarand, near Magaliesburg, is over 100 years old.
  One of my favourite things is getting in the car and heading off to nowhere in particular, seeking interesting people to talk to and photograph.
 And so it was, on a Sunday morning, I found myself bouncing along dusty, dry, dirt roads, deep in the Magaliesberg mountain range, with just an iPhone in my pocket.
 I only recently started shooting images with a mobile phone camera and then, only after seeing some of the incredible work done by other mobile photographers.
 For a while I considered taking a DSLR on the trip but dismissed the idea, figuring I would find excuses to use it, rather than the iPhone. In the end, the decision was: if it can't be shot with the camera phone, then the shot would not be got. This proved to be the right choice. Other than occasional difficulty seeing the screen and being sure of composition in bright sunlight, I never once felt I lost anything by not having a "proper" camera with me. No doubt another camera would have produced better quality files but, for my purposes, the iPhone produced the goods.
Day's highlight

The day's highlight was calling in at a shop that over the years, no doubt, millions of people have flashed past on their way to Rustenburg and Sun City. I stopped because it reminded me of trading stores my Grandfather and great uncles owned more than fifty years ago.
 Hassen's General Dealer Store in Maanhaarand has been there for over 100 years.
 "It's been in our family for 79 years," said owner, Ibrahim Hassen. "My grandfather bought it in 1936."
 "Come! Come!" he said, ushering me inside. "Let me show you the house."
 The worn, creaking, wooden, floors of the store evoked memories of the sounds of my childhood, when my sister and I thumped around on similar floorboards in my grandfather's shop.
 "The wood in this place, the floorboards and the ceilings, is all original Oregon pine," said Ibrahim. "It's probably worth more than the buildings built from mud bricks made from clay dug on the property."
 In the house - that we entered via a door in the shop - I was introduced to his wife, family and visiting relatives. None appeared to think it weird a complete stranger was being taken on a tour of the home.
 In the kitchen, cooking was in full swing, with a number of Indian dishes being prepared.


 "This stove is over 100 years old and still used every day," said Ibrahim. He opened it and raked the glowing wood coals. "And next to it is the hot-water geyser that is kept hot by the stove."
 More memories of my granny's kitchen, freshly-baked bread and simmering pots of beef and bean soups.
 I was shown the back yard and he told me of his plans of growing vegetables.
 "We are going to have to do the work by hand," he explained. "I applied for finance for a tractor but they said the property is too small."
 He paused for a moment, I guess, once again thinking of the possibilities.
 "I could do a lot if I had a tractor," he said.

Ibrahim Hassen and the 100 year-old stove

Inside the shop that has been in the family for 79 years.