Some Say You’re Lucky

Shebeen-8_DSC2640-copy-2Rita at the Shebeen © Andre du Plessis with kind permission

Some say you're lucky

If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn't

Understand poems or songs.

You'd never know

Beauty comes from loss.

It's deep inside every person:

A tear tinier

Than a pearl or thorn.

It's one of the places

Where the beloved is born.

~ Gregory Orr ~


South African Shebeens~

In South Africa and Zimbabwe, shebeens are most often located in black townships as an alternative to pubs and bars, where under apartheid and the Rhodesian era, black Africans could not enter a pub or bar reserved for whites.
shebeens were operated illegally, selling homebrewed and home-distilled alcohol and providing patrons with a place to meet and discuss political and social issues. Often, patrons and owners were arrested by the police, though the shebeens were frequently reopened because of their importance in unifying the community and providing a safe place for discussion. During the apartheid era shebeens became a crucial meeting place for activists, some attracting working class activists and community members, while others attracted lawyers, doctors and musicians.
Shebeens also provided music and dancing, allowing patrons to express themselves culturally, which helped give rise and support the musical genre 'kwaito'. Currently, shebeens are legal in South Africa and have become an integral part of South African urban culture, serving commercial beers as well as 'umqombothi', a traditional African beer made from maize and sorghum. Shebeens still form an important part of today's social scene. In contemporary South Africa, they serve a function similar to juke joints for African Americans in the rural south. They represent a sense of community, identity, and belonging.
Today, they appeal to South Africa's youth, and are mostly owned by men.
Shebeens are bouncing back as South Africans try to preserve some of their cultural heritage. (Wikipedia)

Linked to Share the Joy Thursday with Meri’s Musings*

About the Photographer: 

Andre du Plessis  hails originally from central South Africa and currently resides in the U.K.  (London) where he works in private practice as a Physician with a unique Anesthesiology Specialty. His great love for photography began when he was a young boy of five, and has remained with him steadily since. The great motivator for his photographic adventures is never knowing where they will lead him.  When asked about the spontaneity of his “Street Shoots”  with regard to his South African series he responded in this way:

“In general, my subjects are people I do not know; in essence they are strangers to me at first. My objective is that the images I take of these people become something that transcends this void, and perhaps bridges any distance between us.  When I look at these photos afterwards, although these people might be strangers, I want the photo to express that I feel a kinship, an understanding, and that respect for one another is tangible. In my South African series, very few of my subjects are wealthy; they do not have the goodies that you or I might have.  However, I want the person in front of the lens to be captured in the wholesomeness of who they feel they are. Their environment is captured merely as an addition to complete the canvas.”

~Taken from Andre du Plessis’s Bio. with permission.


  1. This history is fascinating -- the photograph is captivating. The little girl is beautiful -- positively luminous.

  2. Thanks, Meri. The photographer and I have gotten to know one another. I am
    sure that he will be so pleased to see that you like it. I know a bit about
    South Africa and found myself so drawn to these images. They have such a
    deeply personal quality.


  3. like meri - i see such luminous beauty in her eyes. and the poem - sigh... perfection.

  4. Thank you, Leslie. Such a depth of soul there, I agree. Andre's work has
    such a simple and straightforward beauty about it.

  5. I have taken some time and browsed through Andre's photos. The way he captured the people is just the way they are. Nothing artificial about them and about the photos. i love his photos very much. Maybe because I'm drawn towards "street " photography and down to earth real people or maybe because I live in SA and I see these scenes daily, but are too scared that I would invade their privacy by taking their pictures.
    Very interesting info about the shebeens. Shebeens are unfortunately not always a safe place to go for locals and foreigners. 

    Jou foto's is baie goed, Andre. Vol deernis en baie realisties.  'n Baie goeie advertensie vir Suid-Afrikaanse fotograwe en vir hierdie pragtige land wat so onnodig bloei . . . . .

  6. Thank you so very much Riette. I am sending this to him right now!

  7. The poem tugs at my heartstrings, as does the photo of the beautiful young girl with the innocence in her eyes.  Lovely informative post.

  8. The poem and photographs are deeply beautiful.
    Thank you for your compassion
    and for sharing the touching poem and photograph.
    <3 gma

  9. Thank you Gemma for your open heart :-)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts