I WAS SHOT IN JOBURG
THE FORMER STREET KIDS WRITING A NEW FUTURE THROUGH
PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE ART OF BUSINESS
By Fraser Morton
In a dilapidated ghetto of Johannesburg a former street kid stares at a crumbling wall graffitied with the words, “Write The Future”. There’s a click of a disposable camera shutter and the kid has his shot. The image will go on to sell thousands of copies - printed onto notebooks, canvasses, keychains and postcards - and ferried to all corners of the globe by tourists. The boy will go onto become a photographer and a businessman.
He is one of many success stories from the "I Was Shot In Joburg" arts collective.
“I Was Shot In Joburg” was established as a community project in 2009 by South African photographer Bernard Viljoen to provide a platform for disadvantaged street kids to learn photography and business skills to empower them to turn their lives around.
“What I would like to propose for the project is using my photographic skills and talent and give of my time and resources to make a positive contribution to and enrich the lives of kids who might otherwise not have had the exposure nor the opportunity to develop their own photographic skills and talent,” Viljoen said.
The “Write The Future” print is just one successful product the young photographers sell at their Arts On Main studio, a mixed-use creative hub in Johannesburg’s arts-gentrified neighbourhood in the Maboneng Precinct.
The young students learn photography, craft skills to make prints and other products to sell their work and business acumen. They also learn how to open a bank account and manage money for themselves for the first time.
“Teaching and enabling them to see the world through different eyes. Teaching them to look, to see, to compose, to capture what it is they see in a such a way that they can be proud of it,” Viljoen said.