Kayamandi Township Images by Martijn Roos Interview by Hannah Costello
y name is Martijn Roos, one half of a pair of identical twins,
is incredibly vibrant and beautiful in its way: chaotic streets, street
24 years old. I work as photographer, shooting mainly
barbeques, and colorful self-built houses.
portraits, weddings, and travel series. Coming from a small country like the Netherlands, I have always loved to travel and to bring my camera along the way. Lately, I have been blessed to shoot more international weddings, something I used to only do in the Netherlands. I studied industrial psychology and graduated with my master’s degree last year, after which I decided to continue to take photos of awesome people and to travel more, especially to South Africa, where I try to spend my winters. Over the past couple years, I have met many amazing people here in South Africa, especially when I was studying
Who are the men photographed, and what is your relationship to them? Tony Maake, a friend from University. The rest are friends of Tony, and now are also my friends: S’Fiso Charlie Brown, Ntabiso Sojane, and Lutho Ta Pluto Gqomo. They are inspired by the gentlemen from the old days, during or before Apartheid, when the black people would dress up on Sundays to go church, for instance. They have picked these clothes themselves and wear them occasionally.
in Stellenbosch in 2012. When I was there, I worked as a volunteer
What was your inspiration for this shoot?
in the township called Kayamandi, meaning ‘Nice Home,’ and during
I have been looking at old vintage posters and old movies, LP
this time I met Tony Maake, who had grown up in the townships near
covers, and so on. The idea came to mind when I was chatting with
Tony about shooting in the township. You never see vintage fashion
Tony and his friends know the struggles of living in a township. They
photographed in places like a township, but these people know how
work hard to improve the lives of the people in the township since
to look amazing with the little means that they have. I wanted to
they have been gifted the opportunity to study at university themselves.
show the beauty of the township and to raise awareness among
Tony is actively involved with the education of township children as
people that live or travel to South Africa without knowing what life
the founder of ‘Tony’s House Children Foundation.’ By means of this
is like there. Our models grew up in the township, but they are all
shoot, I also wanted to raise awareness of the life in townships and
studying at the University of Stellenbosch now. The nice clothes in
communicate the vision of people like Tony with the world, through
the chaotic and dirty streets reflect the contrast between their roots
means that speak to the heart. Tony’s foundation was born from desire to
and their life nowadays. Old versus new, township versus gentlemen.
give children from the township a chance to excel, to grow, to learn, and
They are a true example of the fact that hard work pays off.
to reach their full potential in life. While Tony believes that we should never forget about where we came from and credits his circumstances
What do you feel this is saying?
with making him who he has become, he also believes that, ‘’It’s not
Being fashionable doesn’t have to do with how much money you
about where you come from; it’s about where you’re going.”
have, where you were born, what your past looks like. Fashion reflects the heart. These guys are rightfully proud of where they are now but
Hannah: What brought you to this specific location?
also of the place where they are from. I was hoping for that pride to
Marttijn: Because I worked in and lived relatively close to the
be reflected in these photos.
township Kayamandi, I knew what the township was like, and I also
(Follow Martijn @martijnroosphotography)
knew it was rather safe. I’ve been taking my camera to the township a lot but never with the idea of doing an actual shoot. The township