The shebeen

afpc_rsa_shbn(From the upcoming 4xAfrica show at Rayko SF. Click on the image for a larger version.)

Diepkloof, Soweto, South Africa, 2002.

Under apartheid, blacks weren’t allowed to drink in bars designated for whites (though white-owned companies were happy to sell them alcohol), so unlicensed taverns–shebeens–sprouted from virtually every township block. Many of these bars are still around today, and most of them have the proper documentation. In my South African reporting I’ve spent equal amounts of time in churches and bars, and I prefer the bars–where you can play pool and Space Invaders, listen to Jay-Z or local house music, and have boozy, serpentine conversations about politics, soccer, and life in general.