Means of Transport

John Berger

To learn how to speak
With the voices of this land.

Jeremy Cronin

Use these photos as means of transport. Ride on them. No passes needed. Go close. Imprudently close. They leave every minute. Their drivers are there on the spot–often at considerable risk to their cameras and themselves. But we who are travelling risk nothing–except a reminder that justice has to be fought for, that often it has to be fought for, generation after generation, against men armed to the teeth and against men, there where the photos take us, who have even manufactured a nuclear bomb to defend their wicked white power. Go close.

The statistics inevitably have to be calibrated from afar. Four-fifths of the population there–that is to say over twenty-five million souls–have no vote. Continually displaced, they do not have the right to live or work where they choose. Under the apartheid laws they are restricted to thirteen per cent of the poorest land, the so-called ‘bantustans’, where economic survival is impossible. Those who leave to try to earn a living for their families become–unless they have a temporary contract–illegal immigrants in their own country. Many in the shanty towns on the edges of the cities remain unemployed. Those who do get work constitute one of the most exploited industrial labour forces in the world.


The Ivory Acrobat
Murderer in the Family