The new and improved Braamfontein is a home to a vibrant artisanal culture that caters to an upwardly mobile youth who think nothing of paying R22.00 for a latte or R 65.00 for a burger. The area is possibly a model of successful gentrification in the Johannesburg CBD.
Behind this hip facade, however, lurks the world which hardly makes it to the tourist brochures and the ‘come invest in Braamfotein’s regeneration’ pamphlets. This is the world of the homeless who are also in Braam trying to eke out a living from whatever scraps of residue from the artisanal economy.
For this project, I refrain from showing the faces but rather focus on the open, often hard surfaces, on which they will spend their evenings this winter.
In this way, the project seeks to show what the regeneration project hides very well.
This is the M1 bridge at the Empire Road entrance of Wits University. It is infamous for its vendors who sell their wares at the intersection and for being a night spot for the homeless.
3. This is the bridge on Smit Street where two men have made a home. During the day they move their mobile wooden beds a little further up towards Wolmarans to avoid being chased away by JMPD.
On corner Smit Street and Biccard Street is a park where some of Braams homeless population has found a home. They sleep in the open and are often victims of harassment from criminals in the deep of night.
Along Smit Street Kgaogelo Chuma and Dingane Dlamini has built themselves wooden homes that lean against the the metrorail railway. From their homes, you get to see the Mandela bridge.