This work seeks out new dimensions to tell the stories of South African youths today and not only, in an attempt to move beyond the paradigms of sensationalist media depictions of the violent post-apartheid scenario. Portrayed as the most violent but also the most beautiful city in the continent, Cape Town inevitably presents a very contradictory scenario of extreme inequality. A city full of smiling faces, despite the evident social and economic injustice many live through on a daily basis. My work tries to understand the lasting scars of a turmoiled past, whilst also giving space to the experiences of new generations who live the lasting effects of Apartheid without having lived through the political struggle itself.
Post-apartheid legal reforms focused greatly on crime diversion, healing, and rehabilitation. The enthusiasm in the youth sector died out rather quickly after youths ceased to be viewed as a great resource for the state, that increasingly focused on other aspects of society such as mass tourism. However, there are some who still view youth as the most important resource for the country. My latest work focuses on those who try to bring to the table some solutions to empower marginalized youths, one in specific is the Chrysalis Academy of the Western Cape.
The former reformatory that was revolutionized in the year 2000, is nested in a valley between two mountains. It is a unique example of rehabilitation and self-development through discipline, community, survival tools, and health. Despite the fact its strict and regimented approach has been criticized for its affinity to military training; the outcomes have been praised. The academy's objective is to change the mindset and perspective of its students, providing them with tools to see things from a new perspective, breaking loose of those inherited by previous generations. Chrysalis, as the name suggests, is a transforming environment that changes the dangerous to hopeful and empowerment, giving students a different awareness that will shape them as active actors in the changes that will take place in the future of their country.