Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Township Project - Closing thoughts

Taking on this project back in December was not such a big deal, really

It seemed so far away, and at times it came close to failure

But after a while it became a reality, and I started to get my head round how to make it work

When Werner Stadler of  'True North' took Katherine Holley and I to the township the day before the class began, it fitted with my previous experiences of South African townships of some 20 years ago. I noted to myself how little they had changed in that time despite the end of Apartheid, living conditions seem to be pretty much the same.

As we drove down one of the side streets one of the community, Beryl who knew Werner ran up to our vehicle holding a very small undernourished baby called 'Moonface'

'Moonface' was in a very sorry state, she had a cleft palate, and thought to be a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) which affects the central nervous system, she was taking her for an operation in the week.

To say this moved me would be an understatement and more to the point it filled me with doubt regarding the photography tutoring class

How relevant could such a class be in a community facing a myriad of issues, of such gravity and depth?

I have never felt so nervous at the start of a class

When I started to engage with the class my nerves passed

And after most of this week with them I feel that the class has been very important and of real value to all of the participants.

Providing hope and a focus to youths who have been given no opportunity to shine at all

When given a chance to express themselves every pupil in the class seized it, as you will have seen from the photographs

In fact they may get their own show in London soon, fingers crossed

I believe that the class has the potential to an enduring positive force in their lives (Mine too for that matter)

I believe the cameras will provide the students and the wider community a voice which they have not previously had, and a chance that people may at least be more aware of the challenges they face in their daily lives

Yes, we will be leaving behind 6 Canon 400D's and 6 Manfrotto tripods under the stewardship of 'True North' and we do hope to return next year to run another class

 Liz  of Singer photographic has already volunteered to go along and take a class, this really is a brilliant start.

What will make this project a success is more South African going in to mentor and encourage them on a regular basis, it really is not difficult, in fact it is a joy not to mention an education, please consider this guys?

I cannot believe how easy it was to make this whole thing happen, I think perhaps we find more reasons why we cannot do things than why we can.

When the final class finished there were massive hugs and smiles

Here is the class at Ajax Cape Town


One of the class said 'We are your friends now, do not forget us'

These youngsters will not be forgotten by me, far from it, they will be an enduring inspiration in my daily life, no matter where it may take me

Life is so short, just do something ANYTHING, no matter how small, and make a difference

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