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Edward van Herk June 9, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in South Africa, Soweto.
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Construction worker, Soweto Township

Edward van Herk (b 1973) in the Netherlands is passionate about documentary photography His interest began after 2003 when he lost his son. “Becoming involved in this work taught me to see because I needed to deal with my grief”. During his extensive travels as an airline pilot he became increasingly aware of the crisis in many parts of the world and felt drawn to the documentary photographic essay. Edward is mainly a self taught photographer.

About the Photograph:

Final construction at the Maponya mall in Piville township, Soweto. The 650 million Rand mall is one of the largest shopping centers in South Africa, and its opening is a sign of the commercial awakening of Soweto. The mall is likely to change the face and shopping habits of Soweto residents, who, in the past, have had to leave their area to go and do their shopping in the former white areas. In the past 80% of all disposable income was spent outside Soweto. “In November 2007 I photographed an assignment for a cultural center in Soweto. Since 1948 when Apartheid officially started, Soweto has grown into 27 townships with a population of 3.5 million just 25 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg. Today it is buzzing with spirit and celebrating the unique culture, heritage and history of struggle. My essay ‘Deep Soweto’ is dedicated to the proud people of Soweto. The title is the name of a hiphop gang and stands for the deep connection I felt with the people”. It’s obvious in looking at this work that the connection was mutual.