Recycling Johannesburg

November 20 2016, 0 Comments

Like many developing countries, South Africa's waste management system is dependent on informal recyclers. They are difficult to miss in Johannesburg. Pushing and pulling hundreds of kilograms, they make a living by collecting, sorting and selling our trash. From their daily routes they know the city's streets intimately. They also understand recycling and the difference between paper and plastic better than your average citizen.

The recyclers are as iconic as our trees and towers, which is why we wanted to make a series of t-shirts representing them. We asked three of Joburg's top graphic designers – David Tshabalala, Phindile Thengeni and Sphiwe Giba – for their interpretations of these humble heroes.

After many kilometers on Johannesburg's harsh roads, they arrive at a "Cash for Scrap" centre where their day's collections are weighed and sold. We collaborated with photographer Brooklyn Jové Pakathi to shoot David, Phindile and Sphiwe modeling their t-shirts at one such depot in downtown Jozi.