- PhMuseum 2020 Women Photographers Grant
Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie (This life is not right for me)
Dates2016 - Ongoing
Who decided that the world should be divided into the western and non-western world? Who decided that colonization and slavery were good ideas? The person who thought that apartheid was nothing but good ‘neighbourliness’, where is he? I would like to file a complaint.
When South Africa became a democratic country in 1994, the reality of most South Africans did not change. During apartheid, racial segregation was implemented and enforced by many acts and laws. Coloured people (a term referring to people of mixed race during apartheid) were forced to live in remote and impoverished neighbourhoods. Criminal activities increased and as a result groups of men took on the role of police officers. These groups have evolved into different gangs since then who are now fighting against each other. Schauderville is a small district in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and has the most gang-related activities. Therefore it is one of the most dangerous places in the area.
Farren van Wyk (1993) was born in Salsoneville, Port Elizabeth, just a few kilometres from Schauderville, but has been living in the Netherlands since she was six. She has been studying the gang culture from the inside since 2016 and learned about the men who formed their identity while being part of a gang, and who sometimes peacefully stepped out of the group as well. The men who stepped out of their gang chose to do so for their children. They did not want their kids to take the same path and knew that change had to start within their own life.
She went back numerous times and wanted to know how their lives were developing in Schauderville, being a close witness to the increasing amount of gang-related crimes around them. Van Wyk shows a different side of a community that is suffering under the wrongful representation of Southern Africa and was able to present the positive and more humane side of a district where gang wars are part of daily life.
Myself being a young woman who researched gang culture that is predominantly male did not make me feel unsafe. On the contrary, these men kept me safe and entrusted with the story of their life. We were born in the same country and helped to form a connection. Maybe even a friendship.