Steve and Hassan met 11 years ago on a dating site, and they have been together ever since. Steve is very creative. He has extensive knowledge of traditional medicine and a background in engineering, and he teaches his young partner everything. They live off-grid in a tuck shop near Botshabelo, where they sell basic groceries to the farm workers who live in the area. They also repair cars, and recently, they started welding farm gates.
For the Rastafari community of Afrika Borwa, today marks the end of 7 days of prayer and festivities, celebrating their Ethiopian Christmas. In the words of Marcus Garvey, Ras Bobo HorseMouth says: “Intelligence rules the world. Ignorance carries a burden”.
Mrs. Dibe (80) is her energetic self when I arrive at her home in Batho Location, just before noon. Adelina and her daughters Bella and Salomé collect plastic litter in the location, every day, and stock it in their yard in huge bags provided by the recycling company. Collecting and sorting is hard work for little money under an unforgiving sun, and the competition is fierce.
Only today, Adelina Seboilwe Dibe isn’t wearing her work clothes: she has changed into a beautiful white dress with a flower print for our little portrait session. She has an old framed portrait of her parents, and we get started.
And then, she surprises me with a similar portrait of her late husband, Cecil Shuping Dibe. It is amazing to see the old man (as Adeline lovingly refers to him) as a man in his prime, for the first time. Printer by trade and human rights activist under the Apartheid regime by conviction, Mr. Dibe was one of the stalwarts of the Struggle. We all first met in 2009 during a function, celebrating his 80th birthday with the comrades of the ANC. Mr. Dibe and I made our last portrait together in 2014, and in 2016, the Bishop passed.
On December 5 2018, Khotso Pudumo of the National Museum in Bloemfontein introduced me to Mrs. Jessie Moleki (90). Jessie became my first sitter as I finally picked a project up again I had started working on in Batho Location four years earlier.
She posed with a portrait of her parents, dated 1932. Back then, Jessie was 3 years old. This morning, when I visited her with a print, she pointed me to another picture on the wall, a digital enlargement of a photo taken on her brother’s wedding day in the mid 50s. Brother Joel Mateza, first from the left, sits next to his bride. Jessie is the lady with the radiant smile, standing in the middle. She brightened my day with that same beautiful smile this morning, nearly 60 years later.
Mrs. Moleki still lives in the home her father built in Bochabela, where she grew up.