With its vast landscapes strewn with fruit, vineyards and the breathtaking Cape Dutch architecture, South Africa’s West Cape represents one of the most beautiful stretches of nature in the world. More than 120,000 labourers work and live in the wine-, fruit- and touristic industry in the rich and fertile West-Cape. Worldwide millions of people daily enjoy the product of their labour. The wine- and fruit peasants belong to the richest of the country though their workers hardly reap the fruits of their labour nowadays. Coloured workers populate the extensive vines of mostly white peasants. Although several parties attempt to improve their economic and social position, those workers currently still constitute the most marginalized groups of the post-apartheid society. A history of slavery, apartheid, exploitation and suppression made them vulnerable and dependent.
“If you come here, you’ll see all of the beauty. And it is beautiful, but you don’t see what’s behind it”, says Elna, representative for the youth programme of Women on Farms, an organisation fighting for women’s rights working on the land. In and surrounding the municipality of Stellenbosch (east of Cape Town) many labourers still live and work in degrading circumstances. They work, often without an official employment contract, long shifts in bad circumstances. They live together in overpopulated, shabby cottages, surrounded by misery and violence.
This project was realised with support of the Pascal Decroos Fund