Meet Amos. Amos is 51 years old and lives and works in the Soweto township in the South of Johannesburg. I met Amos when I visited The Shack, the shebeen where he is employed. Amos told me that he has got 8 children of his own, and moved to South Africa from Malawi after his brother passed away from the AIDS virus in order to look after his brother’s wife and 8 children as well as his own. Their house had only one bedroom, and when the children were growing up they would all sleep alongside one another like sardines – when he returned home from work in the evening he would turn the light off in order to get changed in the dark.
All of the children have left home now. The youngest daughter is an IT trainee, and hopes to be able to get a job of her own and be fully self supporting once she has finished her apprenticeship. He was saddened that all his children are only interested in themselves, and don’t assist him in anyway anymore.
Amos works at The Shack, a shebeen just off Vilakazi Street. Shebeen is an Irish word meaning ‘illegal drinking place’, From Wikipedia: Shebeens are most often located in townships as an alternative to pubs and bars, where under apartheid and the Rhodesian era, indigenous Africans were barred from entering pubs or bars reserved for those of European descent. Today, shebeens are operated legally, and serve as part of the African culture. In addition to serving South African and international beers, shebeens offer local beers. At The Shack, they offer Joburg beer – Amos told me that it’s what keeps his skin looking good, and since it only contains 1.5% alcohol, he drinks it daily for breakfast as it’s a meal in itself. The beer is sold in a carton similar to a milk carton, and has an entertaining slogan on the side:
Amos showed me round the shebeen, but he seemed to be most proud of the ladies toilet. “You know Johnny Walker? Well we made Winnie Walker!”
All the shots in this post were made with the Leica M-E and Summilux 50mm ASPH. The first four shots were shot as ISO 2000, which shows that as long as the shot is well exposed, high ISOs are perfectly useable with the M-E…..
Chapter Forty One: Life in Istanbul, October 2014
Chapter Forty: Sitting down in Istanbul: October 2014
Chapter Thirty-Nine: Leica Factory Visit, Wetzlar, Germany: September 2014
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Ngaben Cremation Ceremony, Ubud: July 2014
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