Photography

An uncomfortable reality.

The Apartheid in South Africa disappeared 18 years ago, racial segregation was banned and white supremacy over the black population ended. These days, Nelson Mandela -one of the most important figures of the movement that ended that horrible injustice- has been news due to his delicate health status. But something that I haven’t seen talked about much is an underlaying problem which I came across with yesterday: Kommandokorps. This extreme right-wing group is teaching white teenagers to reject Mandela’s vision of a multicultural world. And the worst part, to act upon it.

Ilvy Njiokiktjien is an independent photographer that has worked around the world, focusing on South Africa. She’s made several documentaries about life in that part of the world, and yesterday I got to see one that horrified me: Afrikaner Blood.

websiteworldpress

Some of you might have already seen the image above, as it won the World Press Photo Award in 2012 in the Contemporary Issues Category. It shows us a sergeant pointing a gun at a boy at the right wing Kommandokorps camp in South Africa. He is teaching the boys how to use guns. In said camp, white teenagers are taught to “defend themselves against crime” and are advised that they should not integrate in the new democratic South Africa. The documentary follows some of these boys after the camp, when they go back home and to their schools, were they continue their daily lives among black people. Something is different, though. And not right. They were born in an apartheid free country, they are sent to this camp and they have their minds changed.

When are we going to talk about these impending issues? Because this camp takes place 203km away from where the Spanish football team won their first World Cup. Back then, we all saw a very glamourous part of South Africa, but not its reality.

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Good Winter.

Turn down the lights,
Turn down the bed,
Turn down these voices, inside my head.
Lay down with me,
Tell me no lies,
Just hold me close, don’t patronize me.

ways

As days pass and changes are made, one could think that only new things would come. Wrong. Old feelings haven’t disappeared and sometimes, in the middle of the night, they resurface to hunt you until exhaustion takes over.

From the outside, this life might seem easy, it might seem as if nothing was done and no effort was made. The multiple tries, the endless hours of preparation, the good amount of failed ideas, the several rejections, the shameful pleas. Those are obviated, those are overseen. 

When I was growing up, I had dreams too. None of those dreams included this. And even though I wake up and get out of bed with the best intentions; when night comes and I get into that bed again, the intentions have turned into failed attempts and the willpower sometimes banishes in form of tears.

When I read that we are the only ones in charge of our life, a big “sod off” threatens to leave my mouth. If only that were true, my life nowadays would at least resemble one of my childhood dreams. 

First breath after coma.

mad

Running away isn’t the answer, but escaping for a few might be. Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but saying “see you soon” gives hope to more than one person. Visiting home isn’t possible now, but visiting one of the best corners in the world is. Looking forward to smiles.

Huir no es la respuesta, pero escapar un poco puede serlo. Decir adiós no es fácil, pero decir “te veo pronto” da esperanzas a más de uno. Visitar mi hogar lejos del hogar no es posible ahora, pero visitar uno de los mejores rincones del mundo lo es. Tengo ganas de sonrisas.