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February 06, 2009

Township tour – a Cape Town Tourism Flickr photo essay

I tend not to stick with any particular genre when out with my camera. If I see something I like, I’ll shoot it. This approach to photography suits Cape Town perfectly, as I found out while visiting friends last July. Such diversity of cultures opens up so many photographic opportunities.

There are many trendy and affluent areas in and around Cape Town but the townships were especially interesting from a cultural and photographic point of view.

Most of the shots, if not all, were taken with a Holga, using medium format 120 film. Although I have a digital camera, the Holga, with its limitations and simplicity, adds atmosphere and gives the scene a “dreaminess” that a digital will sometimes be reluctant to see.

The townships were wonderful places to visit. There was no animosity whatsoever and the people were very friendly and inviting. It is however advised to have a “tour guide” like we did, as not all areas, like most overpopulated places, were as safe to wander around on your own. No matter where you go it is very obvious you’re not a local.

Next time we go I’ll bring a digital camera too because there was a lot of fiddling with film. Hopefully we’ll be back for the FIFA World Cup, if our favourite hotel, The Cape Heritage, isn’t booked up.


This lady was kind enough to invite us in to her one-room shack. The room contained two beds (one for her son), an oven, a fridge and a small table with a black and white TV perched on top.


These kids followed us around for a bit in Langa township, Cape Town.


This girl was proud to pose for me under the South African flag, outside her shack.


A man cut a lonely figure far off between run-down buildings and a dilapidated caravan. I thought the scene looked pretty bleak, until it started to pour.


A lot of people in poverty-stricken areas turn to religion for hope and comfort. This clothesline, although probably unintentionally, doubled as a cross, reflecting people’s beliefs in Langa. Images © Liam O’Prey 2009

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