SEE OUR VOICES
SEE OUR VOICES is a photography project by the Women of the Westcliff Flats Residents Association in Chatsworth, South Africa. The exhibit, See Our Voices, was shown on December 18th, 2008 at the University of Kwazulu Natal in the Center for Civil Society during the Wolpe lecture series. The images were all taken by twleve women, one as young as 9 years old, covering a range of issues including prepaid electricity, illegal dumping, water damage, basic services and the lack of a community center for the children. The project facilitated the creation of picture stories in order to encourage the women to find expression through their visual voice and written statements. For the exhibit, the photographs were sewn into fabric, yielding a complex tapestry of mixed media to further enhance that these images are a part of the community. Below is an excerpt from the demands of the residents… “The project is a demand that our voices be heard and that our lives be made visible. With no jobs, with no work, and no efficient transportation system, we will never be able to improve our lot. The City wants to charge us for basic services and to pay arrears accumulated through unscrupulous service delivery policy. The City is trying to profit off the poors… We are now being charged exorbitant rates for the very essentials of human existence. We have a right to be alive; a right to shelter, water, electricity, and food. But the government has undermined any chance for a viable economy in our community. We need support, and instead, the City calls us criminals. SEE OUR VOICES demands that you recognize us, that you hear the voices and see the images of real women living in a real place. The legacy of apartheid has left us with only a struggle. We are not a revenue source for the City. We need programs that work, and we need them now. We cannot wait any longer.”
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