South Africa has a 5000km land border, a 3600km coastline, and some of the busiest international airports on the African continent. Post 1994, and the emergence of democracy, South Africa’s borders opened allowing an increased number of people and goods into the SADEC region and the rest of the continent. On top of this, the worlds increasing globalization has added to and increased the amount of traffic coming in and out of the country.
This group of photographs investigate the various aspects which make up the concept of border control in South Africa. To this end I have photographed the land ports, seaports and airports were people are “allowed” to cross into South Africa and official border control exists.
Many questions surrounded these “Ports of Entry”. What do the physical structures look like? What factors influence their placement? How does their placement impact on the infrastructure of the surrounding area’s?
The social and commercial element’s were also of interest and allowed me to understand and engage with the differing situations that each site presented; the quiet contained control of Onseepkans Port of Entry, to the frantic movement of people and goods across Biet Bridge into Zimbabwe.
At some Ports of Entry, the sense of trepidation associated with border crossing was reinforced through the display of regulatory signposts and information boards. This was particularly prevalent at Nakop Port of Entry. Others are situated at natural geographical points, such as Mountain passes and river crossings, with the Ports at Ongeluksnek and Onseepkans containing this aspect.
The Limpopo River separating South Africa and Zimbabwe contained no physical structure at all, but is in all aspects a barrier, both socially and physically.
In all cases I was drawn to the integral part these structures play in the lives of those who pass through them on a daily basis, as well as the role they play in the social structure of South Africa.