John Robinson is a social documentary photographer and stroke survivor living in South Africa, these are his own words and images.
South Beach is a part of the City of Durban’s longest uninterrupted stretch of beach sand. The City of Durban is on the eastern seaboard of South Africa and the people here are washed with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. To the north of this stretch of sand are beaches with cafe society hang outs. To the south there is a pier with the upmarket Moyo’s Restaurant at it’s end and the uShaka Marine World complex and the private surf and sea clubs of the Vetches Beach area. Between these northern and southern affluent areas lies this long uninterrupted and relatively undeveloped stretch of beach sand. It’s along this beach that some of the ‘scatterlings’ of Africa come to be alone, sleep, pray, walk, swim, surf, work, commune with another, or just the sea sand and water.
On this uninterrupted length of beach I am alone with my thoughts, with just a few sea gulls for company. It takes me over an hour to walk its length and when I walk along the sands, these are some of the many people who have also taken some time out of their day for the same:
A pistol packing pastor, who’s day job is as a police man. He is on the beach to fetch holy water for the praying needs of his flock.
A surf life guard named Cat who has a dislike for crowds, when he has down time he spends it in a tent so that he is assured of his own personal space around him.
Others like two acrobats from Tanzania who are on their way to a better life in Europe somewhere, say that the beach is a good place to practice their craft and have a wash.
One man just sleeps in the dunes until another place opens up in a shelter for those who have arrived at a place where life has dealt a blow that was too hard to manage.
Another man uses a metal detector and searches for metal on the beach, he educates all who will listen on the lack of durability of modern South African coins. He showed me how quickly the sea water breaks down the alloys that our new coins are made of, and how the coinage of our fathers just lasted so much longer…
There is also a man who prays for the fact that he has a regular job, he comes out of his flat near by and prays on the beach each day.
I asked the people that I met only three questions; Where are you from. What do you do here and What do you like about this beach.
These are the people…