For the past week I have been travelling to different areas in and around Joburg helping to run auditions to get new actors for our NGO. We’ve been to the sorts of places that tourists never reach including Eldorado Park and Westbury Park. The first is about 20kms outside Joburg, while Wesbury Park is inside the city. They are both ‘coloured’ areas. (Under Apartheid where you lived depended on your colour, by law.)
I have to say that these were two of the grimmest places I’ve visited, ever. Areas like Soweto are poor and have rubbish infrastructure for their inhabitants, but they at least have a sense of place. I feel excited when I’m there. There are people on the streets, there’s a vibe. But Eldorado and Westbury Parks were devoid of any sense of place. I stood there, outside the community halls and watched bits of litter roll around the wide open desolate landscape.
I tried to take pictures of Eldorado Park but they were crap because I couldn’t capture anything that expressed the emptiness. It felt like a sink estate without the grafitti, skateboards, humans or high rises. No bleeding-edge fashion mag could ever give Eldorado Park a touch of street cool. I had a bit more luck with pictures in Westbury Park. Apologies to anyone from these areas that might read this – I can only see through outsider’s eyes.
Kids playing in the open space in Westbury Park
Fantastic kids in Westbury Park