Archives for A Reality Unseen

Sindiswa

I met Sindiswa late one night in a hospice in Bloemfontein, in July 2009. She was 17 and her unconscious body was found in the street by Nomzi, an outreach worker from a local church that works with the ladies on the street. Sindiswa was one of the girls Nomzi had befriended. Her story, like […]

Shameena

Shameena (a pseudonym) was found in Ladybrand in the Free State, after she escaped from the house where she was forced to work for little food and no pay. She had signed up with a so-called employment agency in Mumbai India to work as a domestic worker in South Africa. She was told that the […]

Rosettenville

This is a collection of intersecting stories, which together tell of what can be found in suburbs across the country. During the 2010 Football World Cup, I received a phone call asking for help from a contact and friend, Babalwa, who works with sex workers and victims of trafficking on Johannesburg’s streets. Babalwa had found […]

Mandisa

“Mandisa” (a pseudonym) was either 12 or 13 when she was first trafficked from a township outside of Port Elizabeth; initially to work in downtown PE, then later sold and taken to Bloemfontein. Because of her years of trauma she struggled to remember the small details and the timeline of her experiences over the years. […]

Elizabeth

I saw a young girl in a red jacket, standing on a dark and lonely street corner later that same night after meeting Sindiswa. The young girl turned out to be 15-year-old Elizabeth (a pseudonym) Sindiswa’s childhood friend. She desperately wanted to go home, but couldn’t leave because ‘Jude’ had her clothes, and explained that […]