It used to be an old gas station. In the area where car owners once filled their tanks an elevated boxing ring now stands. Fraying rope holds the still sturdy structure together as George Khosi instructs his student on the correct way to dodge and jab. “One two, one two,” he counts. Outside the ring, a bright green punching bag sways gently in response to blows delivered by a little boy with missing teeth and mismatched boxing gloves. The 44-year-old coach does not seem to mind, he would rather the boy box than wander the streets.
“Even though I’m an immigrant, (my music) mirrors what a lot of African Americans experience because it’s such a black story. I’ve found inspiration from that community and they embrace me and allow me to do their art form. But at the same time I recognise that it’s very much an African rooted genre so in a way it’s giving and taking from each other.”
The experience of African immigrants living in South Africa has previously been portrayed through images of violence, deportation and police brutality. Local photographer, Sydelle Willow Smith, attempts to challenge these visual stereotypes in her exhibition Soft Walls (the show runs till April 2nd at The Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg), by depicting everyday scenes that, seemingly, we should all be able to relate to.