My name is Fredrik Lerneryd and I’m a photographer. This story is from Joburg, and I did worked on it for a couple of months in 2015.


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In the heart of Johannesburg, few minutes away from the city’s central train station, an enigmatic sign looms: “MOTH.” Although hundreds and thousands of people pass it every single day, most of them have never heard of it or know that it’s a shelter for over 400 people inside. One that is cramped, uncomfortable, unsanitary and, supposedly, temporary.

The residents moved in six years ago, thinking they wouldn’t be staying long. They arrived after being evicted from their old apartment blocks (torn down to make room for a gleaming shopping mall). The group was told they would be given a short-term place to live, something that would last for, at most, one year. Many of the over 400 residents that live in here don’t have their own room. Instead they use curtain as walls. In the building, all the women take on the role as mothers to protect the children. There is just cold water, and many of the toilets don’t work, so the place stinks of human feces. The future for the children here is very limited, without any money it’s hard for them to even attend school.

Six years later, nothing has happened. The living conditions grow worse, the residents become more desperate and yet outside life goes on…

More info: Instagram

In the heart of Johannesburg, few minutes away from the central train station, an enigmatic sign looms: “MOTH”

Although hundreds and thousands of people pass it every single day, most of them have never heard of it or know that it’s a shelter for over 400 people inside

The residents moved in six years ago, thinking they wouldn’t be staying long

Many of the over 400 residents that live in here don’t have their own room, instead they use curtain as walls

The group was told they would be given a short-term place to live, something that would last for, at most, one year

They arrived after being evicted from their old apartment blocks (torn down to make room for a gleaming shopping mall)

Six years later, nothing has happened

In the building, all the women take on the role as mothers to protect the children

There is just cold water, and many of the toilets don’t work, so the place stinks of human feces

The future for the children here is very limited, without any money it’s hard for them to even attend school

The living conditions grow worse, the residents become more desperate

And yet outside life goes on