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PHOTO ESSAY | The colours and characters of Kliptown


PHOTO ESSAY | The colours and characters of Kliptown

When vibrant communities get together to promote and take care of each other, it’s music to the ears

Andrea Nagel

There’s a long standing bond of friendship between the leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg and the desolate, dusty streets of a township not far away, according to Howard Sackstein, chairperson of the Jewish Report. Kliptown is the oldest residential district of Soweto and was first laid out in 1891 on land which formed part of Klipspruit farm.

The farm was named after the Klipspruit (rocky stream) that runs nearby. From 1903, the area was home to informal settlements and squatter camps. Today, this vibrant, colourful place is a mixture of purpose-built housing, shacks and other informal homes which form the Chris Hani and Dlamini settlements.

Photojournalist Ilan Ossendryver has spent four and half years visiting the community, using the camera as a social activism tool. He's brought in international visitors to the area, has sponsored the Kliptown soccer team, has helped build a daycare centre, organised chess clubs, brought in food when the community was hit by floods and has helped the community whenever there's been a need. ..

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