Township Fashion Series - South Africa
''It's not about where you come from, it's about where you're going''.
After Mandela, South Africa is still battling with poverty and racism issues, even though the country has gained popularity among tourists and investors from all over the world.
During my studies in South Africa four years ago, I met the very interesting and always energetic Tony Maake. Tony grew up in what is still the largest township in South Africa to date, with over a million inhabitants. However, he now studies microbiology at the Stellenbosch University, and has his own business and foundation.
Like Tony, some people manage to get out of the townships, whereas others are born and buried without ever getting the chance to prove and develop themselves.
Tony is now actively involved with the education of township children as the founder of 'Tony's House Children Foundation'.
By means of this series of images, I want to raise awareness of the life in townships and communicate the vision of people like Tony with the world, through means that speak to the heart. Tony's foundation was born from desire to give children from the township the opportunity to excel, to grow, to learn, and to reach their full potential in life.
Tony feels blessed to now be a successful student, entrepreneur, and volunteer at the same time. He wants to give other people the opportunity to become a better and happier version of oneself. Tony notes; ''Circumstances made me who I am”. He is beyond grateful for all the blessings and opportunities.
I portrayed Tony and his friends in the township that he now does a lot of good work for. The images should reflect the pride these guys have for their people and culture. The townships are incredibly vibrant and beautiful in its way. However, wearing specific clothes that are unusual to the township people, should make the contrast feel both interesting and unsettling. The nice clothes in the chaotic and dirty streets reflect the contrast between their roots and their life nowadays. Old versus new, old life versus new life. They are a true example of the fact that hard work pays off, but that we all need to get the opportunity to prove ourselves.