When Shane and I went to Durban a few months ago, we were in an antique shop in town where I was going through every nook and cranny of the place whilst Shane sat quietly in a corner reading a book, but not just any book, no no no, he was reading this awesome book on Hillbrow in the 70’s and 80’s. He bought it for R100 and when he showed it to me I nearly hurt myself. The photographs inside it are so amazing and real! The grade and the locations, the people, the clubs. Hillbrow was the coolest place ever.
Glynn Griffiths together with Paddi Clay made this book. They went in and explored Hillbrow, but not before Glynn got an official nod of approval from one of the gang-leaders so he could move around untouched with his high-profile cameras. He says that at times he had to shoot through a hole cut in his jacket because if he was seen with a camera then trouble was soon to follow. It’s funny when you look at the pictures, it looks like such a happy go lucky place, except for the odd street fight scene here and there. Not only are the photos awesome, but Paddi’s revealing commentary leaves with you with such cool insight into each picture.
I love this book and I especially love the photo of the guy in the Micky Mouse mask sitting on the stairs with the 2 go-go dancers. My plan is to to try find Glynn Griffiths and ask him if he still has the negatives to these photos and if he will let me print that one huge to hang up in my house. How awesome would that be? A Glynn Griffith’s Hillbrow original. Hells yes. I wonder where he is…I wonder if he would be happy to know that his book is sitting pretty on our coffee table at home, but sad that it’ll never see Hillbrow again.
*Ohhhh I just found this book on Bid or Buy, the starting price is R930. Score!