Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The gleaners.

I was standing under a bridge in Jeppestown when I noticed them for the first time. It was a Monday morning. A tall young man in a green balaclava whizzed past, riding his platform trolley like some kind of giant skateboard, his coat flapping like a cape. I caught his eye and even though his mouth was hidden, I could see him smile. He was around the corner before I could lift my camera and focus. And then, all of a sudden, they were everywhere. Sorting and washing and packing.

And waiting in a line that stretched around the block.

All the way to the entrance of Motech Recycling, at number six Staib Street, New Doornfontein. We hung around there for a while, wondering and speculating.

Eventually a large, shirty security guard offered to call someone, instead of "you taking all these pictures". We went up to the office and spoke to Kashif, the MD, and his right hand man, Duke. They were open and helpful and rather lovely. Apparently, it's a quiet time right now. They take in about 15 tons of recycling every day. In Summer it goes up to 35 tons a day. 35 tons! And Motech is only one of three large recycling buyers in greater Johannesburg.

In effect, hundreds of people, previously destitute, now have a means of making money every day and they are making an incredibly dirty city a much cleaner place. And Motech has no responsibility towards these gleaners - they just buy what is brought right to their front door. What a business!

I'm impressed, shocked and fascinated.


Marie said...

...me too.

Rosie said...

Fascinating, beautiful documentary. Thank you Lily.

the sourcerer said...

thanks Rosie!
I am back home. three jam-packed weeks felt like months! much to think and write about...