About the Book
As a photojournalist, Feni spends a lot of time photographing service delivery strikes and protest in the townships. Often the images that make it into the newspapers are only of the looting and burnings. Renting a backyard room in an informal settlement, Feni was troubled by this kind of portrayal of the lack of service delivery and the life of the marginalised. As he says, “I live at the back of an RDP house in Mfuleni on the Cape Flats. I experience issues like poor sanitation, access to clean water and the flooding first hand”. Photographing the lack of sanitation was not pleasant for him, but he did not want a photographer from outside the community telling their stories while he watched on. “That too would be A Drain on Our Dignity and that’s what inspired this project”.
A Drain on Our Dignity echoes the ground-breaking images produced by Ernest Cole in the early 1960s, showing black life under apartheid. It is a sensitive and honest look at what lack of services is, what it does to a community and what it does to a people. Without the screaming, fighting or burning – these captivating images compel the reader to look at what is happening in the Cape Town townships.
About the Author
Masixole Feni is a freelance photojournalist. He has worked for various news media such as Paris Courier, Big Issue magazine and Independent Newspapers in Cape Town. He shoots projects of relevant social issues in the townships and has over time built an impressive body of work. Feni started his career as a photographer in his early teens when he joined Jenny Altschuler’s Drumming Photography Workshop at the Iziko SA Museum in 1999. Between 2011–2012 he was formally accepted on the South African Centre for Photography’s mentorship programme. He soon began working for newspapers and NGOs, winning a number of awards along the way.