This morning I took a camera and met up with Osmar at the Somali Community Boards of South Africa’s office on the corner of Hanover and Albertina Sisulu in Mayfair.
I arranged with him to take me around and introduce me to the people I want to take photos of. As I am an outsider in their world, not entirely aware of all of their customs and rules, I needed someone know in the area to help people feel comfortable with me and the camera.
It work in some circumstances and in some it did not. TJ suggested that I get a photo of Muslims outside of a mosque. A very difficult thing to pull. I was told that I needed to get approval from the entire Muslim community if I wanted to take photos. So I settled for taking photos of Muslim women, with their consent, on the street.
I feel the rest of the photos on my list went well. While driving down Mint street I saw the offices for Gift of the Givers and South African National Zakah Fund, which is connected to my feature.
I have chosen and edited my eight photos for in-depth. My feature is done and my Video is also done. Kenichi has to sub my feature tomorrow and Zaheer must check my final video. If they ‘OK’ my work tomorrow I will be done with this shit.
We shot the first part of my video today and it went very well. Gunjan was very cooperative and extremely welcoming. He made us some Indian style tea, which was actually quite nice. It took us a couple of hours to shoot, because there was so much we could get from him at his apartment. We also shot him playing pool in a Egyptian restaurant down the street.
Calisto’s manager said that we could do the second part of the shoot at the restaurant Friday 12h00. They are only giving us 30 minutes to shoot, so we need to get everything right the first time and very quickly. I had to move my interview with Pieter, the immigration practitioner that would’ve also been at 12h00 on Friday to 11h00. Luckily he was willing able to change the time as we wouldn’t get the same grace from the Calisto’s manager.
I will be meeting with Ruth tomorrow morning to discuss my draft. Hopefully I get a better understanding of what to do with my feature.
This morning it was difficult to get out of bed. Getting up at 05h00 is not for me!
I dragged my puffy eyes and messy hair to the car and made sure not to hit anything on the way to campus. I had to go through all of this insanity to help Anelisa with her video for in-depth. We had to meet her interviewee in Soweto at his Spaza shop to catch him opening it.
The shoot went quickly and I must say the footage looks good, #Skills.
The best thing about today is Anelisa was interviewing Justice all #ProfessionalJournalist like, and then… her chair broke…
We got back to the office at 08h00 and I started working on my story board that is due later today. Zaheer came into the office and took a look at my storyboard. He said he is happy with it and suggested that I just add a couple of questions. I added it and sent it to him via email.
Zimasa’s shoot is set to happen at 15h00 today, so the camera batteries are fully charged and ready to go.
Today I had only one interview scheduled and the guys wasn’t at his store in Central Road. The number he gave me has gone straight to voicemail since I met him Tuesday. Luckily I met Hashaim who works at the same store. He is new to South Africa (I believe seven months is still new) and he has been living in Mayfair for one month. He is a economics student at a Sandton college and the cousin of the man I want to interview.
Hashain agreed to participate in my video. I have emailed him the questions I will be asking him and he will give me a date that will fit his schedule. His English is not clear cut, but it is understandable and I believe it shows more of his challenge as most foreigners come to the country not speaking or understanding English well enough.
The contacts Pieter send me didn’t want to be part of any video.
My Zimbabwean interviewee works as a waiter at Calisto’s restaurant. I went to speak to the restaurant manager and he said I can go in tomorrow 11h30 and interview any of his staff. The majority of his staff are foreign. So there I will get a couple of interviews.
Tomorrow ill see Zaheer, hopefully he doesn’t shoot me down and tell me to find another story.
Today is going to be long and irritatingly hot day.
I made arrangements to go to the Ethiopian lady and apologize if I disturbed or offended her yesterday. Although I still feel upset that she wasn’t as hospitable as I thought.
Other than that I have to meet up with one of my interviewees today but only later in the afternoon. I would’ve interviewed the immigration practitioner at 10h00 this morning, but he had to leave town yesterday for a funeral happening today. He said he would contact me with a date for next week. Luckily he asked one of his clients to contact me for my video. The client sent me an email and I replied with all the details. Let’s hope she will participate.
My other interviewee will come back to me with a day when we can meet as he is a waiter and his shifts are sometimes unpredictable. Hopefully we meet before Monday when my draft is due.
To respect the Muslim community I make sure I wear clothes that cover my body well. But this heat is not helping.
I had three interviews today. One with the Ethiopian lady who makes coffee at the restaurant on the corner of Bird street and 9th Avenue. She was so welcoming and seemed to speak to me with ease. Interestingly enough she disagrees with Somali community leader, Amir, that Mayfair/Fordsburg is a safe haven for foreigners.
This is great for my story as it puts an element of conflict in it. I may now pose the question: Is Mayfair/Fordsburg a safe haven for foreigners?
Although I felt welcomed and enjoyed my time with the lady (she even invited me back), it appears that I upset her as Biopelo went there after I left to speak to her and she apparently reacted very rudely saying a white girl interviewed her for three hours took photos when she said no and by keeping her busy lost her customers.
I asked her before the interview if I can take photos, she said no and I didn’t push it further. She did, however, agree to be recorded during the interview. Afterwards she and I had breakfast and she made me some coffee and popcorn ( which she made for the class last week while I was in hospital). I paid for everything including a bag of coffee beans. I was there for 90 minutes before I left to interview my Egyptian resource. I am kind of upset about it as I felt a connection with her and she even called me “friend”.
Still my interview with the Egyptian and Amir went well and I believe I got some good stories out of all three my interviewees.
I feel bad for Biopelo, because her story is focused on the coffee.
I started out the day feeling like a sharp and rusty guillotine has been removed from my immediate head space. I managed to finish my portfolio and features last night with 30 minutes to spare!
I had a nice night’s sleep, a good healthy breakfast in the form of chocolate flavoured Jungle Oats and a relaxing shower to wash my hear for the first time in four days.
Zaheer ruined it.
How? Well, he wrote the words ‘Characters’, ‘Conflict’ and ‘Newspeg’ on the white board. He said our video pitches need to include all of those elements along with solid visuals before it will be approved.
My idea for my video doesn’t include any of that.
Immediate panic. Dizziness. I want a n ice cream.
After talking to Ruth I settled a bit more and realised I can only start stressing if I don’t have an approved pitch by Friday.
I spoke to Zaheer privately and explained my story to him. It didn’t take long before he suggested that I focus on new foreigners in the Mayfair/Fordsburg area and follow them around whilst focusing on the challenges they face to integrate into the area.
This is an idea I can easily pursue as one of my current contacts is a immigration practitioner. I gave Pieter a call and he agreed to put me in contact with a couple of foreigners who are new to the area.
Now I have to still go find non-Somali foreigners to get content for my written feature.
My meeting with Somali community leader Amir Sheikh was very interesting and helpful to say the least. He was very kind and agreed to be one of my interviewees. He also promised to send me contacts of a Somali that came to Mayfair between 1994-1999 and other non-Somali foreigners he knows.
Walking from the Oriental Plaza towards the Somali community board’s office I saw a sign advertising the services of immigration practitioner Pieter Britz. After my meeting with Amir I went into Pieter Britz’s office, but unfortunately he was not there. His assistant gave me his contact details and I made arrangements to meet with him Tuesday afternoon after our multimedia pitches are done.
After talking to some community members in the street I was able to get some direction as to where to find Egyptian and Moroccan families in the Fordsburg/Mayfair area, which I plan to explore further on Monday.
This weekend I have to focus on getting my photo essay done for my portfolio that is still behind. I have to get it out of the way this weekend as I believe my group members will need me next weekend to shoot videos.
A lot still has to happen. I hope everything pans out as planned.