Over twenty years after Apartheid ended, history echos through South Africa, and the results filter down to everyday life of people living in the townships. Today many black people still have to move up to 40 km every day into town to get to work, because their grandparents have been moved out of Johannesburg to the townships of Soweto to make the city a "whites only" area under Apartheid.
While the state’s infrastructure like the metrorail break under the amount of people and crime, private minibus taxis have become one of the booming economy branches in the country. As the system has evolved on its own, there are no official stops in the townships -- but there is a simple, even elegant solution to it.
This series of set up photographs explores the unique hand signs used in Soweto, Johannesburg, to stop a taxi going in the right direction, which are also know as „South Africa‘s 12th language“, referring to the fact that South Africa boasts 11 official languages. It is a language mainly understood by the black community, showing that white and black people still face a different reality.
By making them blend into everyday situations in Soweto, the signs do not only tell the story of how to get home in Johannesburg, but also show what this home looks like.
All directions are referring to travels to/from/in Soweto. The meaning of some signs may vary in other parts of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area.
Local advice and hand model: Siya Ndzonga