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No greener pastures here, just dumpsites, potholes and dirt

For many a thought of a cow eating will induce images of green grass or just grass. But not so to us who live in the townships. A herd of cows eating from a dumpsite is a usual sight, we even make jokes about these animals.

One of the popular joke is “O phahla jwang ka kgomo ya Mamelodi ya go ja Pampers” which loosely translates to how do you appease your ancestors with a cow eating diaper?

These animals are hostels dwellers during the day and freely roam the townships and in the evening they return to their kraal, they are an intricate part of our lives, defining our townships.

Livestock in an urban area represents the paradoxes that currently exists in South African townships. One way to tell if you are living in the township or suburbs is, does livestock disturb traffic? If the answer is a yes, then you are living in the townships.

I decided to document these creatures, which have, like many of us, have to navigate life in a South African township.

a herd of cattle eating from a dumpsite
Cattle grazing in a dumpsite in Mamelodi West hostel. Picture:Gontse Sello

A black cow eating from a dumping site.
A cow eating dirt. Picture: Gontse Sello

Afternoon stroll, a herd of goats walking past the hostels. Picture: Gontse Sello

Careful not to frighten them: Kids left behind by the herd. Picture: Gontse Sello

A little green in the mist of dry dirt and concrete. Picture: Gontse Sello

Mother hen with her chicks about to cross the road. Picture: Gontse Sello


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