These streets, baba John Ola’s story
by: Lwazi Mazibuko - 1 May 2015
After the xenophobic attacks in Jeppestown in Johannesburg, I went on to the streets looking for a story, images, witnesses or an explanation, but I was greeted by an eery silence, debris from burnt buildings and tyre ashes on the streets leading to the entrance of the George Goch hostel. I then met Baba John Ola (not real name), who had a story to tell.
It’s a quiet Tuesday outside Wolhuter Mens hostel largely known as George Goch hostel in Jeppestown, Johannesburg South Africa. Around the entrances to the hostel are remains of tyres and rubble from burnt buildings which were vacated by the Nigerian community that lives or rather lived around the area. 18/03/15 Maboneng. An image showing protest against gentrification spray painted by the residence of the hostel and the surrounding areas.
The below image shows Baba John Ola and the small group of the Nigerian Akpugo community he heads around the area.
Baba is a Nigerian national and elder to his community around the George Goch hostel in Jeppestown, Johannesburg. He is married to a South African woman and has a stepson who he considers as his son.
He explains that the xenophobic attacks are unfair to him because of the relationship he shares with his wife and son. When I asked him how he feels about the attacks he reminisced about the day they were attacked…
Maboneng Asiphumi! messages spray painted by the local residents both Zulus and Nigerians who were protesting in unity against gentrification. One of the female Nigerian locals sells food on her trolley in fear that if she reopens her shop the hostel dwellers will attack again.
Advance Publicity House. An image I shot as a symbol of peace. If we Africans open our eyes and be knowledgeable about what affects us as a continent, such social struggles could be avoided.
In James Nachtwey words: “I have been a witness and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.”
THESE ARE OUR STREETS AND THIS IS BABA JOHN OLA’S STORY.