Having spent the past two weeks in Yeoville and seen some weird stuff happen I was gobsmacked by what happened today, and to be honest I wasn’t emotionally prepared for what was to come. We drove into Yeoville looking to speak to one of my colleagues subjects on the hustle of Yeoville, but we were distracted by the police presence and the closed stores on Rockey’s alley way. According to the shop owners the police were conducting their usual rounds and were checking to look for any drugs or illegal possessions in the stores, including the illegal immigrants. My group members characters had also suspiciously disappeared from their stores, which become a site of comic relief for me – because what is there to do in the face of adversity but to laugh.
After trying to get a few comments from the on-lookers on their response to the police’ presence we decided to go back to the original characters who had come back, but quickly disappeared when they saw us with the camera equipment. We decided to retreat to the car, to essentially ‘gather ourselves’ when the we heard and saw the biggest crowd migrate to the sidelines of the street- and there before our eyes the perfect scene. A convoy of police vans and cars leading people towards the back of a police car. In an instant, we decided to get permission from the Constable to shoot, and he surprising agreed to the request. Minutes later a man came rushing towards us and screams by the police who were signalling to other police members to hold him down. The man was eventually caught by the police and given what could easily be referred to as a “beat down”.
Other members of the police were also searching the back of people’s cars and vendors plastics, including searching mens groin for “drugs” they said. The whole scene stopped being funny very quickly when a man roamed around in the street shouting at the police to arrest him, because it was obvious they were arresting people according to where they come from – the search had taken a clear xenophobic discourse.
The day ended with us having captured enough footage but the reality we left behind sat there in the back of minds like an ugly reminder of Yeoville’s reality.