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Untitled in South Africa: Food

This collection lends to the complicated experiences I observed in South Africa. I spent four months studying human rights and multiculturalism while staying with host families across the country. The new nation still suffers from a violent and tumultuous history of Apartheid. And yet, despite this dividing and unjust legacy, the country thrives with unique cultures, politically active citizens, and breathtaking environments. Featured are three different food-related encounters. Food is a right, and yet access is a privilege. This struggle is illustrated through the vastly different experiences of my host families.


Photographed Fall 2013

I had the amazing opportunity to photograph a ceremony for the deceased while I was in Tshabo 2, a rural village near King William’s Town on the Eastern Cape. During this ceremony men will slaughter a cow, whose soul is thought to guide the dead into the afterlife. The women will cook the meat and serve it to the honored family. These ceremonies are traditional but do not reflect the day-to-day lifestyle of the community. Meals are not eaten communally on a daily basis. This was a special occasion that brings the community together to celebrate the loss of life.

Meet Kubra Muhamed. Every weekend she bakes and sells koesisters from her home in Bo-Kaap, a Muslim neighborhood in Cape Town. Koesisters are a sweet pastry often coated in sugar and coconut. Muhamed is an amazing cook, so this venture is an outlet for her to make extra money and connect with her community.

Shopping together are The Dike’s, a family of seven across four generations, who travel once a month to purchase groceries. They have to take an expensive taxi to a bulk grocery store nearly 40 minutes away because all the markets in their township of Langa, outside of Cape Town, are small and more expensive. This outing is an exciting trip for the children who all enjoy ice cream as a special treat after shopping.

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