Wake up, This is Joburg: A series that uncovers the peculiarities of the city

"Wake up, This is Joburg" is a series of 10 books that tells the stories of the peculiar urban inhabitants of Johannesburg.

The series of 10 books – Wake up, This is Joburg – tells the stories of ten ordinary, interesting, odd or outrageous denizens of the city of Johannesburg. Some are newly arrived, some are long-time residents, but all have found a way to inhabit urban space in unusual ways, carving out a living—and a life—in an alternative economy, flying by the seat of their proverbial pants, or working the same job in the same building for decades.

All are, in their own ways, survivors: of the dramatic changes that the city has seen in the last twenty years, of successive waves of xenophobia, of political upheaval here and in countries elsewhere on the continent. Some have simply not moved in decades, preferring to sit things out and watch the city transform on their doorstep, making the most of what it brings them. Wake up, This is Joburg is about that thing you can’t quite put a finger on when you tell people why you live here.

Six of the books (S’Kop – Informal Butchers; Tony Dreams In Yellow and Blue; Inside Out – Yeoville Market; Zola – Taxi Rank; Good Riddance – Recylers; Tea At Ansteys) have already been published and all old out. Photographer Mark Lewis and urban planner Tanya Zack are now looking to publish the final four in the series. They are currently crowdfunding for the project. Any money they raise above their goal will be used to reprint the first six books again. 

The text of each book is English with an additional translation of the text in a language that is familiar to the key protagonist in the story.  Each book speaks—through images and text—to an important aspect of South African culture and society, providing insight into social issues and provoking new ways to help address or think about them.

Check out their crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo

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