Sunday, April 1, 2007


Poverty won't allow him to lift up his head; dignity won't allow him to bow it down. Madagasy Proverb

Johannes Stuurman, illiterate, alone and one of the finest gentlemen I have ever had the honour to meet. Most of his family has died violent deaths, now he has Marta, his partner and his extended "adopted" family. His own son was murdered in front of him in a brawl right there where I took this picture and last year his brother was stabbed to death. He has a garden and he would bring me plants and I would give him "twak" (tobacco). He always took time for me and I have hundreds of photographs of him. I spent hours just talking to him. He is only about 54.

I can picture him now setting off at sunrise collecting the firewood, tipping his hat to me and slowly making his way back home, with the wood piled on top of his head. His frail body, but his strength is his kindness and always , dignity..."It Will Not Cry"


Unknown said...

Dear Jill, I admire your photography work. Today I have published an article about you in my blog ( Hope you do not mind.
Kind regards

James said...

For all of the times I've seen your shots on ephotozine, I still can't help but be a little overawed by your work... It's just, well, very emotive. I lack the eloquence to adequately express how it makes me feel.

I'll keep trying though!


Beyond the obvious said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful image and your thoughts.

All the best,


David Toyne said...

My wonderful grandfather (now deceased) used to refer to the sentiment you express here as being 'bloody but unbowed'.

As all the mining communities, of which his family where part, got crushed by Thatcher he expressed sentiments simmilar to those you emote in this picture. When all else was lost he had his dignity and though beaten down refused to bow down or break.

I thought of him and people around the world like him when I saw this wonderful picture. It conveys a universal truth and really speaks volumes to me.


yashuwa said...