Daniel Morolong’s photographs tell the ‘other’ story of life in the black urban residential areas of the city, at a time when apartheid’s political agendas were beginning to unfold. The authorities and the residents of East London’s locations have always seen and understood the locations differently. To the authorities, they were overcrowded and filthy, a breeding ground for poverty, disease and crime. These conditions were seen to reflect the characters of people – somehow less than human. Racist images of people and the locations dominated public life.
These photographs on show how residents saw the locations. They portray life in the locations as rich, dynamic and vibrant. In an extraordinary way they show the very ordinary nature of social life and living and therefore picture aspects of life that apartheid denied and 'whiteness' kept hidden. Despite a long list of artificial restrictions imposed by apartheid on their lives, location residents made their own definitions of what it really meant to be 'the other’ in white South Africa. As such, when they remember their lives in these old locations, it is neither the poverty nor the hardship that they remember most. Rather, it is the social diversity, cultural vibrancy and sense of identity that first come to mind.