Hillbrow is a densely-populated flatland in Johannesburg. A thriving, bustling area, it combines a cosmopolitan atmosphere with a high crime rate, begging, vagrancy, prostitution, drug running and theft. In this turbulent society, the street children of Hillbrow have created their own community. Jill Swart’s “Malunde” is a tribute to the courage, resourcefulness and humour which inform the lives of Hillbrow’s street children. In providing a selection of the children’s drawings, accounts from their own experiences and excerpts from case studies, Swart offers us access to the complexity of life on the streets: we glimpse adversity and humiliation as well as companionship and hope.
This book achieves a balance between the insider’s view and the more analytical perspective of the observer. Additional insight is provided through comparisons of Hillbrow street children with their international counterparts. Jill Swart, a social anthropologist, conducted her research for this book while pursuing a master’s degree at UNISA . She has devoted much time to working with street children and co-founded Proscess, a shelter for these children in Hillbrow.