Once a Government housing development for low income white people during Apartheid in Cape Town, today the community has become one of the more cosmopolitan areas around the city, with an interesting power dynamic between refugees and forgotten South Africans who try to make a living on the fringe of society.
Most people do not know of the suburb of Brooklyn sitting just outside of the Cape Town city center. For many it is just a place to pass though on route to somewhere else. On these trips, driving down Koeberg Rd, the antics happening on the pavements, the state of the buildings, the people, signs, the atmosphere undoubtedly catch ones attention. And so it should, there is nothing else like it in Cape Town. To those from the Eurocentric city center or the leafy suburbs it is a shock to the system – the byproduct of the establishment they choose not to recognize. For those from the low-income townships and cape flats it is a no mans land – nothing to aspire to and lacking the family and culture of their current homes. For me, having driven down Koeberg Rd many times over the years and choosing not to ask the questions that were running through my mind, eventually the atmosphere got the better of me. What is it about this place that lies between the elite and the fringe that holds my attention so? In January 2011 I went to find out and the exploration began. Brooklyn is a place of transition, a place of temporary state of being, and similar to border towns it brings divided people together, even if only for a moment. What makes Brooklyn unique is that it is the no mans land in a divided city. It is the dumping ground for Cape Town’s industry, it is home to the rejected, the forgotten, and for those who have nowhere else to go. It is a place without classification, because it is too difficult to place all of its characteristics into black and white boxes. This is the answer I was looking for. In a place as diverse and unique as Cape Town I feel we have been far too eager to categorize and divide up all of the unique characteristics of our city. Within Brooklyn, a place where characteristics of all parts of the city meet, I found a metaphor for the current state of the city. This in turn I feel is a representative of South Africa.
This series was produced during a workshop with Gary Knight