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Imizamo Yethu
Limited
Edition Book
Last year, during part of our photo shoot around Cape Town, South Africa, we spent a few days in the Imizamo Yethu township. Our encounters with the colorful habitants moved us, so we just had to compile Tobias Regell’s photos of all the wonderful personalities. This is our tribute to Imizamo Yethu: 77 limited edition books with handmade covers.
READ THE FULL STORY BELOW
Things change as you drive south along the beautiful coast, pass the twelve apostles (South African coast landmarks), and keep driving for about half an hour. You leave behind paved roads, hotel pools, and white houses that face Camps Bay on fancy hillsides. And you drive toward a reality that most of us aren’t used to. A reality for hundreds of thousands of people who live here. We’re talking about life in a township. Imizamo Yethu is just one of them. Imizamo Yethu rests on a mountainside, just north of Hout Bay. Here on a muddy slope, people live their lives in huts, sheds, and houses built from what they find and get for free. Daily living is different. Yet life in Imizamo Yethu is as lively as death is peaceful.
In 2017, a fire destroyed
more than 3,500 homes on
the hillside; 15,000 people
became homeless.
Imizamo Yethu – to take photos for our campaign – and to find out more about life here, and how one cans find a way out of poverty and hard lives that usually equate with drugs and heavy crime? What does the future look like for those who grow up in a place without money or an education?

As we positioned ourselves outside a pink corrugated steel shack along Tambo Road, Simphiwe sauntered up the hill to meet us. We sat in the shadow and started talking with him about life in a place like Imizamo Yethu, and at the same time, we were scouting for models for our photo shoot.

He told us about his journey: he was born in Mount Frere in the eastern Cape and moved to Imizamo Yethu with his mom when he was six, and then lived his entire life here. He also told us about contact he made with the Lalela organization.
Lalela inspires and educates youth growing up in disadvantaged communities. It’s a safe haven that sparks creative thinking and awakens entrepreneurial spirit within young people, for example, through art and music. It also gives hope to parents of kids who have slipped into crime, drugs, and bad living. Lalela might mean a way out of it – a path to a better life.
“For me it’s a pillar of faith.
A guide I could use to see
my wrong doings and find
a better course in life.
They’ve been there all
these years to help me find
my path and my passion,
so they’ve been a very big
part of my life.”
Simphiwe explained: “For me it’s a pillar of faith. A guide I could use to see my wrong doings and find a better course in life. They’ve been here all these years to help me find my path and my passion, so they’ve been a very big part of my life.”

He got into photography and film through Lalela, and he dreams of starting a production house and a township film school that will focus on young black filmmakers and storytellers.

“I’d love to see the project be a part of every township in the country. That way, more people could be helped – just the way I was helped by Lalela.”
People like Simphiwe inspire and impress us. His journey and his ambitions are so amazing. We were immediately reminded of the silver platters our lives had been served on.

We slowly strolled down the hill as the sun set and dusk crept in. We lingered and said goodbye to some of the people we had met. In an attempt to be positive because it’s Friday, we said: “Hope you’ll have a great weekend, it’s Friday night and everything.”
“Honey – Friday or not,
it really doesn’t matter.
No one’s got a job,
so every day is the
same for us.”
A woman standing beside us looked at us with a sad smile. She understood that we didn’t understand: “Honey – Friday or not, it really doesn’t matter. No one’s got a job, so every day is the same for us.”

All we could do was nod, and realize that we’re returning to our safe little bubble of money, security, family gatherings on Fridays, and Monday mornings at work. Here, the days will come and go as they always did. And probably it was then we decided to create this book. And somewhat contribute to what the guys who modeled for us have done. We compiled the book, and all revenue goes back to the village, via the Lalela organization.
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