Someone Once Told Me

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2197This is Mama Gladys, who runs a crèche in Walmer township, one of the oldest townships in South Africa.

She explains in her audio clip how she came to be inspired to start up a crèche herself. “I was talking to another lady one time, who was running a crèche, and she told me this – it’s in the Xhosa language.

”Then I was thinking about that, and I left my work, and I saw the children that are suffering. Their parents are drinking, the ones that are sick can’t look after their children. Then I’m taking their children and I’m starting up the crèche with their children.”

Taking this SOTM was an unusual experience for me. I was perched on a broken chair, taking the photos from a high angle, and had captured the Xhosa SOTM. We were just about to take the English version when a phone rang somewhere, and Mama Gladys fished deep into her bosom to dig out a mobile.

She murmured into it for a minute or two, then tucked it away again. She shook her head and said "My sister-in-law is dead." She then stood, ready for the next photo. I hesitated, unsure as to what to do next, but offered my condolences and quickly took a few photos, to complete the set. You can see the difference in Mama Gladys's expression between the two images.

She later explained that her sister-in-law had drunk herself to death.

Taken in Walmer township, Port Elizabeth, South Africa on the SOTM World Tour with the help of Khaya Volunteer which organises work programs and gap years in Africa.

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