The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”
Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
September 2015 issue
by Damien Schumann
Most people do not know of the suburb of Brooklyn sitting just outside of 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
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