Children of the Shadows

As political and economic tides change across the African continent, often followed by waves of violence and uncertainty, so communities are uprooted and people are forced to leave their homes in search of greener pastures. At the tip of Africa, Johannesburg stands as a beacon of opportunity. Its reputation for discrimination and violence is well known, but its bright lights are often blinding to the reality and hardship of those whose every day is a struggle for survival.Each day thousands of forced migrants flood into Johannesburg in search of a better life. Many have risked their lives to cross South Africa’s borders, and in their desperation resort to the only accommodation they can afford: the slum buildings of the inner city of Johannesburg.

Amidst the darkness and the squalor, you will find children – who bring light into the darkest of places. Some children have travelled the long, perilous journey to South Africa, however many of the children are born in Johannesburg. Often it is the mothers who are left to protect and raise their children, and with the limited resources they have, life in the slum buildings is a daily struggle for survival.The challenges that these children face are universal: health, education, security, nourishment and growth, but the intense social pressure of being raised in the slum buildings of Johannesburg soon hijacks their innocence, as they quickly grow up to be astute and streetwise kids.

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Through their generous support, Burson-Marsteller provided the initial funding for the filming and production of our multimedia “Into the Shadows”, which won 1st prize at World Press Photo 2013, multimedia online short. “Children of the Shadows” forms part of this body of documentary work, a booklet commissioned by Burson-Marsteller which falls in line with their own commitment to support children across the globe through their “1 Week 4 Kids” fundraising initiative.