Together: changing times captured at the poolside in Cape Town

Mar 15, 2024 | News

Zenande (left), Sinawe (right), Zinathi (left), and Buhle pose confidently by the pool at Sea Point Pavilion, Cape Town.

Michelle Sank, a Cape Town native and one of the ten category winners announced in the Sony World Photography Awards open competition, captured their portrait. This helps to show the change that has occurred in South Africa since the end of apartheid in the 1990s. Sea Point, once a space reserved for whites, is now a place where you can soak up the multiculturalism of the city, complete with playgrounds for children, an outdoor gym, and public art.

Sank describes it as a “poetic homage” to the place where she was born. Sank said, “My strongest memories of Sea Point Promenade are the Pavilion swimming pool and the Sea Point Promenade, even though apartheid restricted it to the white population.”

I was drawn back to these spaces, where little has changed in terms of structure or recreation but they now celebrate social and cultural diversity

The country still has a huge racial imbalance, not to mention the ongoing segregation. Property prices in Sea Point are among the obstacles to a real dismantling of inequity in Cape Town.

Sank, however, points out that The Promenade is a gathering place for cyclists as well as dog walkers. Joggers and skaters are also present, along with beggars. “This area is their sanctum. It’s the public space that they don’t get in private,” said Sank. It’s a microcosm that represents hope and possibility.


Photography by Michelle Sank

Copyright Michelle Sank. Michelle Sank has won the Sony World Photography Award 2024. Somerset House in London will host an exhibition from 19 April to 06 May.

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