Sisa Sodlala, 26
I was living in a shelter in Hillbrow, called Twilight Children. One day, Bernard Viljoen, who started iwasshot in joburg, came to the shelter with some disposable cameras. He asked us if were interested in photography and that, if we were, we’d only be shooting with disposable cameras. I said yes, I’d like to try.
One of the first pictures I took was at this old factory in Newtown. I called it “Sorry No Work”. The factory had just closed down and they’d had to get rid of all the workers there. And there was this writing on the door, saying ‘Sorry no work’. To me, that was very powerful picture, because in South Africa so many people are unemployed. So many people are looking for jobs. It’s quite difficult to get jobs. That’s why you’ll find some people on drugs, you know? Life is not so easy. That’s why that picture spoke to me. In the sense of, this factory’s closed down, so what is going to happen to those people now? How are they going to support their families? That is why I took that picture.
I doubted at first whether it was a good picture. I was nervous to show it to people. But because I knew someone who worked in that factory, in the end I no longer felt nervous – just sad because the people had lost their jobs. So I was like, I hope this picture will work; it has to work.
I now work full-time for Bernard and live with my sister in Troyeville. I love taking pictures – especially of street art – because it is my voice. Everybody has to have a voice. Taking pictures gives me that voice. I can tell my story.