"Plakkerskamp" - story of a book
Dave Robertson(born in Zimbabwe, 1961) is a South African visual artist currently living and working in
Cape Town. His photographic work is primarily a form of social commentary. His first photographic book,'Plakkerskamp, Bonnievale 2003 -2012', was published by a humanitarian
organisation in Luxembourg, Europe. The book spans nine years and documents a group of people living in an informal settlement near Bonnievale, a few hours from Cape Town. Dave is particularly well known for his series of expressionist, hand-painted photographs of township scenes in South Africa.
These images of marginalised lifestyles originated as black and white photographs, and had their roots in the pre-democratic period of South African history. In 2010 he turned to abstract painting. His first exhibition of large-scale abstract paintings showed at Worldart gallery in Cape Town in 2011. Robertson has also worked for many years, as a freelance art director in the
film industry. (Source : wikipedia)
Unemployment is South Africa’s greatest challenge. An economy that creates jobs can defeat poverty and reduce inequality, which is one of the tragic consequences of our history. Entrenched as it is, it is possible to beat poverty within one generation. Doing this requires everyone – government, business, community organisations, families and parents – to play their roles constructively to provide young people the opportunities to become productive and responsible citizens.
Having a job is the only way to start the pathway out of poverty. To get a job, one needs skills. Skills must be based on a sound foundation of basic literacy and numeracy. We need “education for jobs”.
The education of young people, however, is not a job only for the government or schoolteachers. It is, in very large measure, also a job for parents. Only a parent can make sure that a child leaves for school on time, and does homework at night. Parents have a role to play in ensuring their children are fed, and go to bed at a reasonable hour at night, so that they can concentrate at school. Government alone cannot enforce these things, but they are crucially important to a child’s performance ability to learn.
Apart from parents, extended families and communities also have responsibilities. Within these social groups, children should observe positive role models, from whom they can learn values and principles, in order to become service-oriented, confident, contributing members of society.
Unfortunately, in so many communities, the social fabric that is meant to achieve this is torn and tattered. Alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, absent fathers and dependency on the government has resulted in many people being victims of their circumstances. They feel powerless to change their situation, mired in the desperation of their present and hopeless about the future. It is in these contexts that the role of the government becomes important. That role is:
- To care for those who cannot reasonably be expected to care for themselves
- To provide the services, infrastructure and facilities that are too big or expensive for individuals, families and even communities to get or maintain on their own
- To provide opportunities for people to advance and empower themselves and to realise their potential according to their talents and effort
The story told in this photo-book is an example of how intervention by the government needs to be linked with individual and community initiatives in order to achieve development. Through the relocation of the refuse dump and provision of accessible potable water, electricity, sanitation and outdoor lighting, Langeberg municipality provided the opportunity of a conducive social and living environment in which the NGO-funded daycare centre and playground could be established and flourish.
If we work together as “stakeholders for success” – government, business, community organisations, families and parents – we can create the conditions for South Africa to achieve shared prosperity and social inclusion.
(Foreword Helen Zille, Prime Minister Western Cape/South Africa)