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Economic inequalitiesPRIVATE Photographers

Ilan Godfrey | Remade

PRIVATE 48, p. 64-65 (64-67)
PRIVATE 48, p. 64-65 (64-67)

Ilan Godfrey, Remade, from PRIVATE 48 – Economic inequalities

[S]outh Africa is entering a second period of significant change since the end of Apartheid. I was in Johannesburg for this momentous occasion and made my vote on the 22nd April 2009. As expected, the ANC took the lead in the polls and it was announced that Jacob Zuma would be our future president. It is a critical moment for South Africa, a country seen to be one of the most unbalanced societies in the world. The number of unemployed has doubled between 1994 and 2008.

The number of people receiving social welfare increased from 2.5 million in 1995 to 12 million in 2007 (Source: South African government report towards a 15-year review, 2008). During Thabo Mbeki’s leadership, his method towards the transformation of South African society was encapsulated in a program called ‘Black Economic Empowerment’ – affirmative action, and the transfer of assets to members of the black majority. This benefited the black middle class, which grew considerably. But so did the gap between rich and poor. In this series of images, I explore complexities within extreme divisions. Remade is not only the name of the recycling plant in Johannesburg where I spent time taking photographs.

For me it also represents the remaking of a people. These images show the communities left behind during this wave of economic growth. My images reveal the daily struggle to earn a wage.

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