My year, 2012, consisted mostly of working. But, seeing as my work includes taking photographs, I made a collection of some of the photos I took on stories I did.
Photos all by Marlene Jordaan, for Volksblad newspaper, South Africa.
I’m not a photographer, but a journalist, please remember!
- Lucy, the only Blood and Semen Dog in our area, with her handler, WO Leon Strydom. Lucy has lead to the arrest of many a rapist. In one case she sniffed out semen on the underpants of a four year old rape victim months after the fact. DNA was collected and the man was jailed. Hurray for Lucy!
I spent many a day in stifling heat driving in the rural areas, looking for these: illegal charcoal factories operating on agricultural land. I did a few articles on them, and …well just watch the news in future for an update. Hopefully this will bear fruit soon.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela, our Public Protector visited Kroonstad to listen to people’s complaints about government and corruption. Police had to keep some of the masses outside, as the hall filled up to the brim and there wasn’t enough space inside. People complained mostly about housing and sewerage, and of course corruption.
Early one morning, whilst on my way to the gym, I was called out to an accident scene near my home. Nothing prepares you for the sight of a dead body on an empty stomach, By the time this photo was taken the police had covered the body with a brown blanket.
A police officer on duty at a road block held to search vehicles for illegal firearms and drugs, ad to check vehicles for roadworthiness and the correct papers.
Raw sewerage in front of a house in our town was flowing like this for more than two weeks. The municipality has started fixing the outdated sewerage system, but it is expected to take years and hundreds of millions of rands.
Women toyi-toyi-ing outside the court building against a suspected murderer of a local woman getting bail. The man who appeared was out on bail for another violent crime and was in jail previously for killing his mother.
My friend Jan came to town to sell his most delicious toffees. He lost his job and couldn’t find work again. he started making toffees in hos own kitchen and now has moved to a factory site, three years later.
The investigating officer took me to the scene where a homeless man was stomped on and beaten to death. When we arrived his blood and teeth were still lying next to the road, as was the blanket he always carried with him.
I spoke to this man, who was devastated by the death of his brother, at the local state hospital, due to alleged negligence and incompetence. He suffered a heart attack and it took four hours to get him admitted into Emergencies.
For Nurses Day, nurses lit candles at the local government hospital. We have one of the most well equipped state hospitals in the province, but have a severe shortage of doctors. Some machines have been unattended for years.
Like many towns in South Africa, our town is on the list for having its name changed. Kroonstad was, according to legend, named after the horse of this famous Boer-leader, Sarel Cilliers’s horse, Kroon, who drowned in the river that runs through the town. This is not quite true, it was actually named after a local farmer’s horse who broke its leg in another small stream. It looks set to be named Maokeng, which means “place of thorn trees” in Sotho, one of South Africa’s 11 languages.
A man drowned during a party held next to the river in town. The police found him after three days, when his body surfaced under a nearby bridge. Here police divers are removing the body in a body bag.
Another farmer who survived a severe farm attack. Louis Boshoff was shot in the back with a .38 revolver, and lost a part of his spleen. He spent 40 days and 40 nights in hospital. I interviewed him and his wife in front of the court building. His life was severely impacted, and he says he only survived with God’s help. (Please Google: Farm Murders South Africa). Farm attacks occur regularly in the area I work in. The three men that attacked him got 46 years combined.
Photo taken outside of Heilbron, a small town which has had its fair share of trouble this year. Not only has numerous farm attacks taken place there, but it has been terrorized by a suspected pyromaniac for the past seven months, with the school, houses, businesses and cars and trucks being set alight.
One of the farmers in Heilbron was attacked with a petrol bomb, or Molotov Cocktail, being thrown through his truck window. He survived but was severely burned. He ran home in only his socks, from where his wife called the police. After months of rehabilitation, he was released from hospital. More farmers and their workers have been murdered in farm attacks since 1994 than soldiers died in the South African/Angola war that lasted 18 years.
This small little police station is headed by a woman commander. They won the best police station of the year award. Within the first week she was there, she went out to meet all the local farmers. She reads the Afrikaans newspaper every day, to learn the language. She is known amongst the locals as the Black Barbie of Heuningspruit.
The Kroonstad highway patrol caught thieves as they were trying to get away with this businessman’s tools.
I spoke to Ivy, who has been waiting for 17 years for her new house from the government. The foundation was laid in 1994, and since then nothing has been done. She lives in a shack on the premises, which floods every time it rains. She gave me the pillow she sleeps on to sit on during the interview.
A few weeks after I started working at the paper, two small boys were killed in an accident. Elsie, their mother, is still waiting for justice to be done. Here I photographed Elsie and her husband Pieter, at the funeral. The two boys were buried in one grave. Taking photographs at funerals is the aspect of my job I like the least.
Sports women from across the province gathered to listen to Natalie du Toit, the first person to ever qualify for the Paralympics and the regular Olympics. She has now retired from swimming.
Maize early in the year. This is what our economy is made of, in the Free State.
A new radio station opened in Parys. Here the station manager and one of the DJ’s took me to a site they wanted to use at first for their radio mast. It overlooks the Vredefort Dome, the largest meteor impact crater in the world. (Google it!)
In Parys, where you can find Magashule Street, named after the premier of our province. Hated by some, revered by others, he is one of the most controversial figures in local politics. The street name is attached to a sun powered street light. These street lights got residents of Parys up in arms, because they were only erected in the streets surrounding Magashule Street. These streets were also paved.
Dr Yvette Pozyn. who rescues all kinds of wild animals at her wildlife rescue center HART, treats them, heals them and releases them back into the wild. This little ostrich, who broke its leg, is now a resident of the farm.
The Tunnel of Evil, (an unused brick oven) as it is called in Viljoenskroon, a small town. Many rapes took place in it. Here the policeman, who eventually caught the rapist, showed it to me. The rapist even had blankets inside. He was sent to jail and the municipality has promised to close it up.
Residents of Kroonstad toyi-toying to get jobs on a road works project. Politicians are only giving work to friends and family, they told me.
Farming is the heart of the economy in our area. Here I visited a tractor demonstration day near Hennenman, a small agricultural town. I didn’t have on the right shoes, and couldn’t walk at the end of the day, because of small little thorns, called duwweltjies (small devils) which were ploughed loose. No more sandals on Agricultural days!
Roads roads roads, the bane of our existence. Major fraud was uncovered in our provincial roads dept, and upkeep of roads has come to a virtual standstill. This is one of the worst in our area, the road between Kroonstad and Lindley.
A police truck full of stationery destined for Cape Town fell over on the highway next to our town. This led to all traffic being rerouted through our town for a few hours. This was probably the most cars some people saw all year!!
At Brickfields, an abandoned brick factory, around forty people, including children, live under dire conditions. They have only one outside, open toilet (no covering, just the loo) an no running water. A local church donated one and connected the water. What was surprising was how clean everything was kept. They even have post delivered!