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Dark Buildings: “R30 a shot”

Prostitution house by S:P:S
Prostitution house, a photo by S:P:S on Flickr.

In my further explorations of the dark buildings in central Joburg’s former CBD, my introduction to this particular building on Nugget Street when I walked through the door was a beautiful young girl who merely said “R30 a shot” and waited to see if the transaction would proceed. She did seem a little disappointed when I merely smiled and told her I was here for work. At which she cleverly responded that she was too. Although we became instant friends, the social context in which she introduced herself did knock me off my feet somewhat. Such a young, beautiful, bold and clever girl placing herself, for whatever reason or pressure, in a situation that will only bring her scorn and disrespect in the broader society. And she is only the first girl I met there.

This building is a dark building. There is no running water and no lights. However, it is not a hijacked building in the oppressive sense and the residents seem to have organised themselves to keep the building liveable as well as create some sort of business – in this case, prostitution.

I am making inroads into being allowed enough access to the building to document it appropriately and see what else I can discover. At this point I am not even sure if I am going to be able to handle it on an emotional level. But I will keep my eyes open. Documenting prostitution and its environment, although making for good work, is often laden with ethical concerns, so I will approach this one carefully.

The image above is from inside the building with, purposefully, no-one in the shot. Everyone assures me that condom use is the norm and it does appear to be a strict rule. Nice.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 05/08/2012 21:00

    You certainly have an interesting gig.

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