50point5 is a fine art photography project that examines the barriers that divide the people of South Africa as a result of apartheid. It is a project of love and loathing that I have been working on for over seven years.Love for the people of South Africa and the art of photography. Loathing for apartheid and what it did to the people.
The images were created along the 50.5km route from my former home in Vredehoek, Cape Town, South Africa, to a private university in Stellenbosch, one of the wealthiest towns in South Africa, where I lectured in photography on a part time basis for five years. The route took approximately 45 minutes to drive, depending on traffic, giving me time to observe and think. The reality of post apartheid South Africa is blatantly clear along this route with the route running from affluent areas, overlooking the former District Six leaving Cape Town, townships, past the Cape Town International Airport, more townships, farmlands in the wine route, finally arriving at the office park where the university is based that overlooks an access controlled private residential golf estate surrounded by electrified fencing and patrolled by armed guards.
The gap between the haves and the have nots is extreme with the poor living in abject poverty in shacks, entire families sharing a shack, whole communities sharing rows of prefabricated toilets and communal water stand pipes. Serious crimes like rape and murder occur daily, seldom, if ever, featured in the news. The police are so overworked that criminals literally get away with murder. Shack fires occur frequently often destroying hundreds of shacks per fire, the people losing everything they own in the fires. Education at the majority of township schools is poor with teachers often not arriving for work, teen pregnancies high and violence commonplace. The government’s answer to the education crisis in South Africa was to lower the pass rate required to finish high school so that more pupils matriculate.
The wealthy live in luxury protected by private security companies, often in access controlled electrified fenced private estates patrolled by armed guards. Domestic servants (gardeners and maids) come from the surrounding townships to work for the wealthy, often for minimum wage, returning to the townships in the evenings. The extreme in this daily journey from township to private luxury back to township must be mind bending, driving home the inequality as a result of apartheid.