The Hopelessness of Holfontein

The Holfontein Essay is not a pleasant one.  I am by no means a documentary photographer – those who know me, know that I am personally jaded by the “anguish” photos that are published.

Holfontein was an essay of Hope when I first stumbled upon the community in 2002.  I left with a feeling that change was afoot, a community which, despite having nothing – had one thing – Pride and in that pride came hope.

When I revisited 10 years later – I was expecting to find nothing – maybe a patch of land, perhaps a derelict building or two.  An epitaph to what can be achieved.  

How disillusioned I was when I found the old community no longer there – where they had moved to God only knows, perhaps to new government housing?  I was greeted with anger, suspicion and Hopelessness.  This was no longer the community that saw a future – but one that now stared hollowly at no future.

Thankfully I had taken a set of proofs of my last visit there.  The visible anger was replaced, although for the few hours I spent there – I was never at ease like on my first visit.  Suspicion followed my every move.  I was allowed to capture some of the intimate moments of this lost community.

I left – not knowing if I want to go back there.  The intrigue will probably get the better of me in a few years.  Time will only tell what I will discover there and in myself.



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