This is an incredible project taking place in South Africa at the moment. We’ve all read the signs, the pleas for help and the attempts at humour. This is advertising at its most poignant. Its most real. These are the stories from the other side of the coin.
Johannesburg’s traffic lights, intersections and stop signs almost seem naked and missing an important feature if there is no beggar in the vicinity. This is one of the city’s features that both serves as a constant reminder of the country’s history, a litmus test of the present and a glance into the future.
Beggars hang a piece of cardboard on their necks with almost the same desperation and heaviness delivered by the content of the words written on it. The passer-by is savagely hi-jacked and kept hostage for a few seconds while with every word they are drawn deeper into a life of a complete stranger.
The viewer is then offered an option to leave the intersection with grinding guilt or pay a ransom and with God’s blessings buy another day in paradise. The viewer is also subliminally reassured that their lives are more comfortable, well off and comprehensively better that of “others”.