Yeoville Day 21: Came, Saw, Conquered

*As part of the in-depth research project, one of the requirements of the BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies degree at Wits University, students are required to write daily blog entries to show the progress of their projects. This year the theme is Yeoville and students have to take on a topic that tells a story that is Yeoville specific.

I went to Cornerstone church, one last time.  I got a few more stills, even though I have a lot already, but I had the opportunity to go again and I wanted to make the most of the last day in Yeoville.  There was less pressure this time and I could talk to some congregates on a social level.  Even though I wasn’t intending to do more work, just soaking in the environment and taking mental notes was journalism.

Now I know Yeoville like the back of my hand. 

From this experience, I haven’t just written about “subjects”.  There are people in Yeoville, I met who I intend on visiting in the future, like Rookshana Visagie and Joe Muthee.  They’ve invited me to attend church there again, I may take them up on it.  What’s surprised me the most about Yeoville is the hospitality of the people.  They are so friendly and helpful!

END OF THE ROAD:  The final day of in-depth saw us doing the rounds one last time.  Photo:  Percy Matshoba

END OF THE ROAD: The final day of in-depth saw us doing the rounds one last time. Photo: Percy Matshoba

I wish I could say on the last day, something magnificent happened, but it was a bit anticlimactic.  No fireworks or epic encounters.  It wasn’t conclusive either, we went in, got our stories and moved out.  The people will continue with their lives, as if we weren’t even there.

On the way there, I took a taxi myself (that’s a big deal).  I was a little skeptical at first, being the only passenger in a taxi.  The driver dropped me off in Hillbrow and put me on another taxi to Yeoville.  Three weeks ago, the thought of doing that would’ve paralysed me with fear.  These internal victories are so valuable, now I know Yeoville like the back of my hand.

When a guy on Rockey Street yelled “Hey brown!” at me to get my attention, I didn’t curl into the fetal position as I expected.  I just turned around and yelled back “Uh-uh!”  (I didn’t know I had it in me).

Later I met up with Rofhiwa and Bongiwe who were shooting at the Catholic Church.  They were taking footage at a soup kitchen.  While we were there we spoke to a homeless medical doctor.

He has a sad story, he’s from Zimbabwe and he’s worked all over the world.  He kept telling us about story ideas in Yeoville.  He said we should be fearless and that we were capable of writing for Al Jazeera.  That was an enlightening experience, we have the means and the opportunities, there isn’t any reason for us to hold back.  We have nothing to lose.

We met Percy and Lutho at the Rockey street market, we were supposed to shoot Percy’s new subject.  But the lady never turned up.  Luckily Percy had a back-up designer so we went to her house on Dunbar street.  We will be shooting with her again tomorrow, bright and early at 8 am, Lutho and I aren’t keen.

As we walked the streets one last time, the sun draining any remaining moisture we had in our bodies, fatigue setting in, we hobbled onto a full taxi.

I hope my story does justice to the realities of Yeoville.


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