PHOTOGRAPHY // BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKE A TOWNSHIP TOUR OF CAMPS BAY

Wow. Why didn’t somebody think of this sooner?  Three young and smart Cape Town based photographers did the unthinkable and went around Camps Bay taking pictures and videos of people doing ordinary things like walking their dogs and eating at restaurants, the same way white visitors to the townships of Langa and Khayelitsha usually rock up there and start taking photos of people living their lives. But unlike the tourists, who usually come in large numbers and buses, and who have paid to take a township tour, a concept that is highly problematic in and of itself, these two women and men went as the three of them and taped the reactions.  Priceless.

I love living in a time where challenging popular tropes about how the difference races and classes interact with each other is happening in such blatant and confrontational ways.  Luckily it’s not a long video but I love how it places you right in the line of thinking about this kind of thing. Well done youngins.

 

// Comments (26)
  • Adedele says:

    Cool!

  • Matthew Oosthuizen says:

    Hey there guys. I agree with you, it can’t be nice to be seen the way tourists see you but your fellow South Africans don’t see you in the same way. I speak on behalf of many white South Africans by saying that we stand with you in believing that we ARE in fact equal, the only difference is that circumstances in the past have caused our living conditions to be very different. I must say that I don’t agree with the way you conducted your experiment, for us white South Africans do NOT come to your townships to take photo’s of you. So I don’t see how it is accurate for you to come to a place like Camps Bay and take photo’s of people eating in restaurants (especially because the abelungu’s in Camp’s Bay aren’t the friendliest of them all. hahahaha). What would be accurate, would be to go to the tourists in THEIR home towns like somewhere in Italy and elsewhere in the world (I just used Italy as an example) and to take photo’s of them. So please rethink your understanding of what we are. Asi ngabo bonke abelungu abano chalu chalulo 🙂 Let’s stop dwelling in the past and let’s look to find ways to build a healthier more equal South Afica! 🙂

  • Ross says:

    Well done. Awesome idea. Nice to see the tables turned and the reactions it created.

  • Wow. So good. Go Andiswa and team! Nothing like ruffling racist undercurrents! 😛

  • Sherilea Gaspar says:

    This is amazing!!! Such a great idea… Its funny how what’s good for the one side is not always good for the other.

  • Aimee says:

    This is amazing. It exposes the worst of Cape Town’s classist snobs. Thanks for giving us something important and uncomfortable to talk about.

  • Ray-Ann says:

    Wow, fantastic, really enjoyed this video, brilliant concept.

  • Armin says:

    Totally well done! Thanks for stimulating thought. So necessary in this country of ours! Those reactions are priceless and say so much!

  • Luis says:

    OMG this is so true and should be expanded. People feel comfortable zooing around townships and African villages but are offended when they are objectified as well.

  • Salma Aslam says:

    This was so interesting to watch and I am quite shocked by the reactions you got.

  • Milli Bongela says:

    Matthew, you lost me at ”I speak on behalf of many white South Africans”….and no, we won’t stop dwelling on the past especially when its effects are so brazenly exposed.

  • Dr. Rainbow says:

    Yassus hey, people are prawns. Interesting, the bodyguard was not South African, right? What emotions are present in the 2nd two people (the lady and the guy at the cafe)? Fear? Is fear the underlying feeling? I suspect so. Thanks for this video, it was a good and valuable idea.

  • Yanela says:

    Yiyhoo!!!!
    As I watch this video, all I ask myself is if we can ever progress as a country, from this “us and them”, “theses people” mentality…….will it ever end?!
    I have completely given up really, maybe we should just leave places like Kemps bay to the Kemps bayers and Pretoria North to the Pretoria Northers because, no amount of convincing that will ever make “Them!” accept that we are all just people!!!

  • Dayne says:

    I take my school on a township tour annually. We don’t however go with the intention of turning up our noses and taking photos of those less fortunate than the highly privileged school I work for. The idea is rather to see the progress that has taken place since democracy and whether or not the policies of the ANC and DA are actually working. In addition to that they get a feel for the way others live and perhaps can have a more empathetic outlook on the previously disadvantaged groups of previous years. I think this is central to building an understanding and equal society. Racism is as real now as it ever was and divisions need to be broken down. This is one small step.

    I agree if tourists simply take photos and feel sympathy for “the poor black people” in South Africa then that is disgraceful and despicable. On the other hand if done responsibly these tours can be a learning experience that can inspire young students to continue the ever looming goal to eliminate poverty in our country. Our intentions are good and we will against all odds create a country that everyone is seen as equals.

  • Sharp says:

    Interesting idea, although you’ve missed the central point. White Capetonians are not the ones walking around townships taking photos of people, it’s TOURISTS on township tours. Tourists do the same thing in all parts of the city. What you are actually exposing with this little experiment is your own racism in assuming that white people are a homogenous group and should all be targeted. I think you need to take a hard look at yourselves and the actual relevance of this experiment before too much mutual back-slapping takes place.

  • luke says:

    I definitely get how it’s not okay to march into someone’s area and start taking photos of them doing their daily chores, but you guys very blatantly were just out to annoy people and get reactions.

    If you had snapped a pic and walked on like most tourists would do, the reactions would have been different, but you stuck around filming them eating lunch and crowding around round them in their personal space until they got annoyed. Of course they did. I’d love to see how long it actually took for that guy to start getting annoyed, looks like you were there for a while. You could have proved a very valid point if you had been more subtle about it.

  • Peter Phillip says:

    lol this is silly though… its not the south african rich that go to the townships to take pictures. if this was to be effective, you would have to go overseas and do the same, in which of many cases this already takes place. If i go to where ever best believe i will take pictures… The same people that take pictures in the townships also take pictures of table mountain and other features of this country.

  • Siphiwe says:

    Those on this thread who insist that it is “not South African whites” who do this sort of thing or that not all whites that go on these tours do so in a tone deaf manner, are doing one of two things: the tired “not all whites” knee-jerk reaction to uncomfortable interrogations of whiteness or are just in plain denial. It is not about you, it is about people whose lived reality you cannot dispute. They experience this invasion (from local and foreign whites) on a daily basis, you have no right – nor empirical evidence – to disprove their reality.

  • Duzi says:

    Great idea, wud be nice if you could explore it further, go to other suburbs around the country as well.

  • Luschka says:

    Enjoyed this video. Really makes you think… good job guys. Hope this goes around!

  • spies says:

    …but surely its NOT South Africans that go into Langa/townships and photograph the locals? the tourist that do go into townships and take photos are foreigners i.e. not the locals from Camps Bay… just saying.

  • Milli Bongela says:

    South Africans do go on township tours. All the time.

  • Charl Rohland says:

    Brilliant idea Milli Bongela i have shot in many “Township’ situations as a News Journalist in the Apartheid years as well as the present time. I personally think that when ever you want to photograph any one you have to respect that person and all ways ask very politely if you can photograph them and all ways speak to them and find out there history a little. NEVER NEVER take a phot of anyone that does not want there picture taken it will always cause a disturbance and may result in your camera and your face been smashed.

  • Charl Rohland says:

    My above comment is for tourists and general photographers if you are a Papparazzi photographer you take responsiblity what will happen to you when taking pictures of someone that does not want to be photographed and Hard News the same hench so many Journalists been killed in war or conflict zones

  • Sven says:

    Hilarious class experiment. If it was a race thing they should have gone to Bellville…

    If more South Africans (coloured, white, greek whatever…) went to township tours more would beter understand that we have inequality issues and a severe class society, which is not necessarily connected to race.

    People are talking about race here as an excuse to handle the topic of inequality and how to handle that in terms of distribution or otherwise.

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