Ilan Godfrey, Winner POPCAP'14

Born in 1980 Johannesburg, South Africa. Lives in Cape Town, South Africa

Legacy of the Mine, 2011–2013

For more than a century, South Africa’s demand for gold, diamonds, coal and platinum has gone from strength to strength, often shifting in accordance with the political economy and the availability of foreign markets. Mineral exploitation by means of cheap and disposable labour has brought about national economic growth, making the mining industry the largest industrial sector in South Africa. Recognised globally for its abundance and variety of mineral resources, which account for a significant proportion of world production and reserves.

‘The mine’, irrespective of the particular minerals extracted, is central in understanding societal change across the country and evidently comparable to mining concerns around the world. This enabled me to channel my conception of ‘the mine’ into visual representations that gave agency to these forgotten communities. The countless stories of personal suffering are brought to the surface and the legacy of ‘the mine’ is revealed.

This is apparent through land rendered unfit for alternative land uses such as ecotourism and agriculture, through public health crises within local communities unequipped to cope with the burden of air, land and water pollution, and through the disruptive influence of historical labour exploitation impacting on family structures and cultural positioning.