I walked away from my recent trip to South Africa emotional, contemplative, quiet. While my first ever safari experience, in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, was one of the most adrenaline-filled fun jaunts of my worldwide travels, what really touched me – more than South Africa’s pristine bush and its wild animals – were the people.
For years, ever since I became a socially conscious human being, I had been hearing and learning about the Apartheid. The books, the films, the stories were always stirring, with raw power to disturb. Yet to be in South Africa and meet the people who have lived through one of the most horrid regimes of our civilization, to hear their stories and get even just a faint glimpse of their pain and humiliation – that was an experience to contend with.
I walked away from South Africa in awe of its people, their resilience, spirit, laughter… I walked away impressed with the creative ways that people found – and still do – of dealing with the past and exercising freedom of expression. I walked away touched by the acts of art, the beautiful and courageous ways of rebellion during the Apartheid, and to this day: music, poetry, dance…
So I decided to devote this post to South Africa’s street art, captured in the townships of Johannesburg and Cape Town. With the photographs, below are excerpts from the Freedom Charter, with core demands by the people of South Africa collected by the ANC in 1955 and adopted by the Congress of the People in Kliptown, Soweto, on 26 June the same year.
“We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people;
That our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality;
That our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities;
That only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief;
And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, black and white together equals, countrymen and brothers adopt this Freedom Charter;
And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.