07
Sep

Box Cart Boys of Naledi Township, Soweto

It’s a tech world. Kids are born, wiped clean and given an iPhone. Just about. I’m not being judgy, trust me, I’m the worst. I’m always counting down the days to the annual Apple Keynote. Mainly because I have dropped my phone so many times that the spiderweb smash effect is at the point where I can see some of the inner workings of my phone. I’ve digressed.

I’m trying to get you to take note of the extreme influence of technology in the lives of kids. I grew up in a less technological age. The age of spinning tops and box carts. I grew up with my three brothers. We built a good few box carts which led to endless old fashioned fun. It also led to a stack of mercurochrome roasties [south african slang for a graze or abrasion]. I was in Naledi Township working on a project for Primedia when the nostalgia of these simple childhood days hit. I was about to leave a soup kitchen when I heard an orchestral belly laugh from a group of kids. I spun around.

I charged over to investigate the source of such joy. As I ran over I saw that a box cart race way moments from starting as they tussled for pole position. I literally skidded into the road in front of them like Michael Jackson, dropped onto my belly and fired off this series of images. They are guaranteed to be some of my favourite images of all time.

These boys live in extreme poverty. They are denied some basic necessities. They defy the odds because they have to.

On this day though it was the privileged suburban kids with iPhones who were the subject of my pity.

The privileged of society deny themselves of the simple joys of box carts. They miss out on the opportunity to have fun that ends with roasties, winners and belly laughs. They miss out on true joy with friends in the physical in place of digital social posturing.

Every time I look at them I go back to my fun filled childhood! I hope to one day have a child be as happy as these boys were on this day!

I’ll start by building a box cart.

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