2017 - Ongoing
Western Cape, South Africa
These images depict the drum majorettes at Dr Van Der Ross Primary School, located in one of the poorest areas of Cape Town, where gang violence and drug abuse is prevalent.
This is the first set of images of an on-going body of work focusing on the aspirational culture around drum majorettes in South Africa’s marginalised communities, who are affectionately known as ‘drummies’. The girls- only sport’s popularity peaked across schools in the country in the 70s, but participation has since dropped. At present, the majority of drum majorettes come from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds, and teams keep the sport alive through fundraising drives and sponsorships from local businesses.
While there have been various debates around the notions of femininity that drum majorettes represent, in many marginalised communities across South Africa, it is taken seriously as an organised and highly competitive sport. For the young women and girls involved, being a ‘drummie’ is a privilege and an achievement, indicative of success on and off the field. It gives them a positive focus and sense of belonging, providing them with structure in communities where opportunities are often limited. As a female-only sport, ‘Drummies’ is vehicle through which they can excel, and the distinctive uniforms serve as a visual marker of this perceived success and emancipation from their surroundings.
This is part of my on-going work exploring notions of femininity and empowerment in modern society, and with my continuing investigation into this subculture, I hope to communicate the pride and confidence that these girls have achieved through identifying as ‘drummies’ in a context where they face many social challenges, as well as working to contribute towards creating an engaged and positive representation of this inspiring subculture, which remains largely undocumented.