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Posts tagged "soweto"

Always dressed in a mixture of township cool and sartorial chic styles, the trio that make up the Soweto and Sandton-based style and photography collective who operate under the title ‘I SEE A DIFFERENT YOU' have provided us with some of the coolest and most refreshing images of everyday folks documenting their interactions with the environments they live in and the people they meet. 

Comprised of twin brothers Innocent and Justice Mukheli, and their friend Vuyo Mpantsha, I SEE A DIFFERENT YOU’s aim is simply to show the story of their Soweto (and wherever else they travel to). Because what you see, of course, is not the only story of Soweto, but that of three individuals living in Soweto.

Watch them tell their stories at TEDxSoweto.

September: Highlighting African Photographers


Soweto/Sowebo Martha Cooper

Soweto is a big city on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Sowebo is a small neighbourhood in downtown Baltimore (where ‘The Wire’ is based on).

Like Soweto, Sowebo played a historic role in the fight for racial equality. 

After the Tragic assassination of Martin Luther King there was a massive black uprising in Baltimore leaving many white shop owners to flea the area. More than 40 years later most of these establishments remain abandoned. Because of it’s desolate nature, someone decided to nickname the neighbourhood ‘Sowebo’ after Soweto and the name stuck.


The artwork is by Birgit Walker and is based on the famous Sam Nzima photo of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying 12-year-old Hector Pieterson who had just been fatally shot by South African police during a peaceful student protest on June 16, 1976 in Soweto.

(via nocturnalphantasmagoria)


I Art is a mural project funded by Adidas that aims to promote visual artists and local communities. Murals were painted in Soweto (Johannesburg), Woodstock (Cape Town) and Maboneng (Johannesburg).

An interesting post was published on the Mahala website about the Woodstock project, raising the issue of gentrification: read it here.


(via 37thstate)



Barbershops from photographer Simon Weller’s series: South African Township Barbershops & Salons


Photo, Soweto by Koto Bolofo

“I found the men with the killer haircuts in South Africa, on a commission from French Vogue Homme International. The Art Director was Phil Bicker at the time, he knew I was South African and he wanted me to go the Black Soweto Township in Johannesburg to get the spirit of the people living there.

He knew my work really well and loved it, but he also knew I had never photographed my countrymen. He thought my portfolio was safe and encouraged me to push myself. This was a real a challenge, and to tell the truth, I was scared.

I feel this tuned out to be one of the best South African shoots I ever did, with vibrant, cutting-edge images that were far from safe!

Phil Bicker and the magazine loved them, and they ran a huge story as at the time, no-one else had done this.

I hope to publish a book on the photographs I did in Soweto.” - Koto Bolofo

Exhibiting currently at Colette Paris with book signing this June 30th | more info

Photo Story: Soweto Drift

Spinning gained popularity in the 80s with young black South Africans - now it’s on its way to becoming a commercial sport in Soweto.


THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Soweto Student Uprising, June 16th, 1976

On the morning of June 16, 1976, thousands of students from the African township of Soweto, outside Johannesburg, gathered at their schools to participate in a student-organized protest demonstration. Many of them carried signs that read, ‘Down with Afrikaans' and 'Bantu Education – to Hell with it;’ others sang freedom songs as the unarmed crowd of schoolchildren marched towards Orlando soccer stadium where a peaceful rally had been planned.

The crowd swelled to more than 10,000 students. En route to the stadium, approximately fifty policemen stopped the students and tried to turn them back. At first, the security forces tried unsuccessfully to disperse the students with tear gas and warning shots. Then policemen fired directly into the crowd of demonstrators. Many students responded by running for shelter, while others retaliated by pelting the police with stones. 

That day, two students, Hastings Ndlovu and Hector Pieterson, died from police gunfire; hundreds more sustained injuries during the subsequent chaos that engulfed Soweto. The shootings in Soweto sparked a massive uprising that soon spread to more than 100 urban and rural areas throughout South Africa. 

The immediate cause for the June 16, 1976, march was student opposition to a decree issued by the Bantu EducationDepartment that imposed Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in half the subjects in higher primary (middle school) and secondary school (high school). Since members of the ruling National Party spoke Afrikaans, black students viewed it as the “language of the oppressor.” Moreover, lacking fluency in Afrikaans, African teachers and pupils experienced first-hand the negative impact of the new policy in the classroom. 

The Soweto uprising came after a decade of relative calm in the resistance movement in the wake of massive government repression in the 1960s. Yet during this “silent decade,’ a new sense of resistance had been brewing. In 1969, black students, led by Steve Biko (among others), formed the South African Student’s Organization (SASO). Stressing black pride, self-reliance, and psychological liberation, the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s became an influential force in the townships, including Soweto. The political context of the 1976 uprisings must also take into account the effects of workers’ strikes in Durban in 1973; the liberation of neighboring Angola and Mozambique in 1975; and increases in student enrollment in black schools, which led to the emergence of a new collective youth identity forged by common experiences and grievances (Bonner).

Though the schoolchildren may have been influenced by the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1970s, many former pupils from Soweto do not remember any involvement of outside organizations or liberation movements in their decision to protest the use of Afrikaans at their schools. In his memoir, Sifiso Ndlovu, a former student at Phefeni Junior Secondary School in Soweto, recalls how in January 1976 he and his classmates had looked forward to performing well in their studies but noted how the use of Afrikaans in the classroom significantly lowered their grades. (Hirson 175-77; Brooks and Brickhill 46) Echoing Ndlovu, current Member of Parliament Obed Baphela recalled: “It was quite difficult now to switch from English to Afrikaans at that particular point and time.” [Watch Bapela video segment] The firing of teachers in Soweto who refused to implement the Afrikaans language policy exacerbated the frustration of middle school students, who then organized small demonstrations and class boycotts as early as March, April and May (Ndlovu).

(read more-)

The latest issue of Rolling Stone South Africa features @SpoekMathambo on the cover, photographed by fellow South African creative Chris Saunders on location in Soweto, with styling from the always eclectic Smarteez.