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Lavender Hill

© Gabriella Achadinha

Known as the most dangerous area within the Cape Peninsula, innocent citizens/children are often killed in crossfire during gang wars. Growing up in such a poverty-stricken environment youth often turn to either drug-related business or gangsterism.
Constable Adams, in charge of the Lavender Hill area, identified bodybuilding - specifically focusing on the competitive sport entry - as a means to divert young men from crime to sport. Ruiz Solomons discusses his life in this turbulent area and exactly what bodybuilding means to him as a tool to not only further himself but also to inspire other children growing up in the same circumstances.

I shot the series on my Nikon F-801, using 35mm Fujicolor film. I focused mostly on the children and their environment - the school and their homes/flats - as they lend a particular innocence to such a torn-down area. As Lavender Hill Secondary School principal, Mr. Manie, explains: 'Instead of allocating money towards extra-mural activities or resources we need, we've had to spend R2.1 mil on a bullet-deflecting fence'. This is the environment that Ruiz navigates daily; one that is contrasted with hope and violence.

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