Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Taking a shot at fortune in a muddy shanty town

Yesterday I travelled with a group of friends from church to a small, muddy, informal settlement called “Zama Zama,” west of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. I’d heard a lot about Zama and the work the group was doing with children there and wanted to see it for myself (and shoot it, obviously).

Zama means “trying your luck,” “taking a shot at fortune,” or “he who seizes the opportunity” in Zulu, and that may well be what drew most of its inhabitants to the outskirts of Pretoria (or Tshwane, as it’s also known). Unfortunately most are barely eking out an existence. Unemployment is high, and many of those who do have jobs leave home before dawn, and return after dark – forcing their children, often, to fend for themselves.

I’ll write soon about how one local woman took it upon herself to look after the children who live in the squatter camp, and where my friends come into it.  For now though, I’ll just leave you with some images from this hot, dusty huddle of shacks, and its beautiful people.

(Click on images for bigger versions.)

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5 comments on “Taking a shot at fortune in a muddy shanty town

  1. Trinda McIntyre Lyons
    January 16, 2015

    Love the pictures with the mothers and their babies. Lots of smiles 🙂

  2. LaBelleza
    January 16, 2015

    As always it is amazing to see a place through your eyes (lens)…I always choose my favourites..but with these photos it was impossible…love them all…

  3. Tammy Ah Yee
    January 16, 2015

    I love that these pictures portray a people of joy. Here in the western world, photos taken in these conditions usually depict expressions of hopelessness and despair. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of life in a South African settlement.

  4. Annamie Dean
    January 16, 2015

    What a beautiful (yet heartsore) collection. Our people still laugh in spite of these poor conditions.

  5. Johan
    January 26, 2015

    Thank you very much for sharing – The pictures show so much emotion

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