It's been a long time since I've posted a series here - so for better or worse, here's the story of Powertown. I've often driven past this small informal settlement on my way to visit my father. But it's a long trip from my home to his place; all of a two day drive, so I've usually been too tired to stop. But I kept promising myself that I would. Finally, after some years, I did. Powertown, as it is called, is a cluster of shacks and dwellings that surounds an old deserted power station, hence the name. The irony of Powertown is that, like the deserted power station, it has no power, or electricity. That means that the poor families that live there rely on paraffin, candles and fires for their light and to cook. Quite often, I'm told, a house will burn down in the night because someone forgot to blow out a candle, or in a drunken state, mistakenly set fire to their house and possessions. Powertown is a pretty OK place, as far as poor areas go. The old power station is used by the kids to play in, and despite being dangerous with big holes in the upper level floors, it's still a giant playzone. People are friendly and generally welcoming. Everyone has a story to tell, and they want it to be told. People are really poor. Across the road there are two stores, a butchery and a bottlestore. At the bottlestore, people from Powertown spend their money on alcohol and get drunk; at the butchery, a collection is made for a weekly Soup Kitchen to feed the kids whose parents either cannot get work, or fritter away their cash at the bottle store. Life is filled with curiousities, contradictions and ironies, is it not? By night, when the drink takes over, there are occasionally brawls, rapes and arguements and a flash fire every now and again in a house punctuates the darkness of night. In the morning, all that's left of the house are the metal springs of a burnt out bed, and a pile of smouldering ashes. By day, Powertown is pretty normal. The kids generally go to a free government school; the mothers wash and clean and cook; the fathers sleep off the night before, or talk idly in small groups. When I next go back to Powertown, I'm going to take all these and more images, blow them up quite large, and stick them up in the Old Power station. That way, I'll give the people of Powertown a community exhibition of themselves -- no publicity, no pre announcement - I will just arrive with my tape and stick the images up. Powertown was an important experience for me.. In so many ways its a microcosm of South African life today...Poverty, violence, joy, color, life...and the real hope of the new South Africa...children, always filled with big smiles, always happy, no matter the odds. Indeed, they are our best hope for a positive future. (All images with either the D2X and 17-55 or the D50 and 12-24.) . Powertown, viewed from across the lake where the wealthy people live near the seaside, Cape, 2005 . Powertown; detail, 2005 . Inside the old power station, 2005 . Kitchen and wine advert, house in Powertown, 2005 Many colored folk working on the wine farms were paid part of their salary as alcohol in the apartheid era. . House, Powertown, South Africa, 2005 . Grandfather in bed, with grandson, Powertown, 2005 . Brother and sister, Powertown . From the first floor of the power station looking west, 2005 . House No 24 and occupants, Powertown . Sleeping with Thabo, A picture of President Thabo Mbeki, Powertown . House with flowers, Powertown, 2005 . Waiting for School, Powertown, 2005 . Drinking in the afternoon, Powertown, 2005 . Clothesline, old powerstation interior detail, 2005 . Waiting for the bus, Powertown . Children, Old power station building, Powertown . Shoes, Powertown, 2005 . The Flag of South Africa, Powertown, 2005 . Woman at her dwelling, Powertown . The single shoe, Powertown, 2005 . House entrance, detail, Powertown, 2005 . Waking up in the lounge with coffee, Powertown, 2005 . Woman in her house, Powertown . Girl with shoes on roof, Powertown, 2005 . Two girls, Powertown, 2005 . Soup Kitchen collection at the butchery in the nearby town, Powertown, 2005 . Woman, Powertown, 2005 . Cat amongst the shacks, Powertown, 2005 . Mother and Child, Powertown, 2005 . Kids Forever, Powertown, 2005 . .