Forgotten Places

The small towns and farmlands of eastern Free State, South Africa, seem lonely, poignant and forgotten. Once the heartland of agriculture, I saw a good number of abandoned farms and half-forgotten small towns in this area, just about 100 miles south of the wealthiest city in the nation, Johannesburg.

The roads are scarred and littered with potholes like a wierd skin disease, houses are for sale on every street, and the small village of Edenville has no water; it has to be brought in by big tankers. In the small town of Koppies, what was once a beautiful municipal swimming pool stands deserted and wrecked. It hasn’t seen water or the happy sounds of laughing kids for years. It stands opposite the Paradys Hotel (translation : Paradise) which seems far removed from Eden or Paradise.

Small towns are important; they are the engine of rural areas and the nodes and meeting places of once thriving farming communities. I found it sad to see them as I found them, forgotten places, half-abandoned and tired.

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