Our best photos of the year

Evictions, protests, street art - and a Minister who missed the train

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Photo of waste picker on rubbish dump
A waste picker on a Johannesburg rubbish dump. Photo: Shaun Swingler

As 2019 comes to an end GroundUp reflects on another tumultuous year. South Africans came out in their numbers to protests against gender based violence. The army was deployed to the Cape Flats to assist police with gang violence. Refugees and asylum seekers were chaotically evicted from outside the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ offices in Cape Town and our Minister of Transport failed to complete a single train ride, on the same system that millions of working class people are expected to use daily.

It’s not all grim though: the youth took the front line in the fight against climate change, calling on the government to take immediate action. We made friends with some pets in Mfuleni and took time to appreciate some of the beautiful street art around Cape Town.

Here are some of GroundUp’s best photos of 2019.

12 January: Juanita Booyse and her husband Manie break down in tears outside their destroyed home in Betty’s Bay. Dozens of homes were destroyed in a fire in the Overstrand.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

22 January: We took a look at some of Mfuleni’s favourite pets. Here is Mavusi Qola with his pet owl, Bob.
Photo: Masixole Feni

26 February: Men waiting for work on the side of the road are a common sight in South Africa and often ignored. We spoke to some of them.
Photo: Masixole Feni

12 March: Johannesburg has about six years of landfill space left. Waste pickers can help solve the problem, but they are currently not part of the formal waste collection system. Here’s a look at the troubles faced by Johannesburg’s waste pickers.
Photo: Shaun Swingler

15 March: In March 2017 the Woodstock hospital was occupied. Jameelah Davids and her son Mubeen are among the 700 people now staying in the building.
Photo: Masixole Feni

14 March: We spotted some of Cape Town’s beautiful murals.
Photo: Masixole Feni

15 March: Thousands of school students across South Africa called on government to act against climate change. Protests took place through the year including protests during the Africa Oil Week convention in Cape Town and in front of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

29 March: Since December 2018, crumbling infrastructure has left Eastern Cape villagers without water.
Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

4 April: Should wild animals perform in circuses? The Mclaren Circus is one of the last to use wild animals in their performances. GroundUp visited the circus and published contrasting views on the subject.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

25 June: Commuters run for the train on which Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula was riding. He intended to take a train from Khayelitsha to Langa, but he abandoned the idea after delays were announced and used ministerial transport instead. Arson attacks on trains in the Western Cape have cost hundreds of millions of rands. One adult, who has been classified mentally ill and two minors have been arrested. On 28 November, 18 coaches were gutted. In December, Mbalula dissolved the interim board of struggling Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and placed it under administration.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

1 July: Children fetch water from stand pipes in Green Point, Khayelitsha, where there are no basic services like running water and electricity.
Photo: Masixole Feni.

19 July: The military was deployed to the Cape Flats to assist police fighting gang violence, following rising violence. It is unclear how effective the army deployment has been.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

21 August: Hundreds were left stranded on the roadside after farm evictions in Kraaifontein.
Photo: Vincent Lali

4 September: After the murder and rape of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana at a post office, thousands across South Africa protested against violence against women. The next day, president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed protesters, promising action. Firefighters in Port Elizabeth, Wits students and primary school learners were among those who protested.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

4 October: Sizane Nompethu is one of the many small scale dagga farmers in the remote Pondoland village of Mkumbi in the Eastern Cape. She has been working on a weed plantation since she was 15. Many traditional dagga farmers are worried that their interests are being excluded in the move towards legalisation.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

7 October: Protesters in Vrygrond confront police during a protest after shacks were demolished in Xakabantu. Police retaliated with rubber bullets and tear gas.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

9 October: Refugees and asylum seekers protested by living outside the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Cape Town. They said they had been victims of xenophobia and wanted to be settled in another country. On 30 October they were forcefully evicted and were given shelter at the nearby Methodist church. Refugees refused help from civil society organisations and attacked a delegation consisting of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen.
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

28 October: A child wades through water in Island informal settlement, Khayelitsha. A deluge of rain forced many shack dwellers to abandon their homes.
Photo: Vincent Lali.

29 November: Tandile Mbatsha performs short plays in the streets of Cape Town using the rainbow flag. “My performances are for the mother with a gay son who is hiding,” he said.
Photo: Velani Ludidi

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