Terrance - 28's Gang
Having spent many years in and out of prison in South Africa Terrance is a member of the 28’s, part of the notorious prison gang The Numbers Gang.
I'd seen Terrance on a previous trip to this area and thought he would make a great portrait and when word got to him he showed a real interest. But upon my arrival he wasn't so sure. I walked through some out buildings to his house where he sat with a few friends in a dark lounge behind closed curtains. He agreed to having a photograph as long as it was in his chair where he sat with no lights on and curtains closed. Pushing my film to its very limit I hoped for the best and took his portrait.
To quote wikipedia “In the 28s it is important to prove your manhood and move up in the rankings. A member moves up the ranks through the stabbing or killing of rival gangs, prison guards or disobedient members. Should a member stay in the lower ranks he will still be considered a woman and will be sexually abused until he proves his manhood. When a new prisoner is assigned a cell he will be introduced to the person in charge of that cell known as the “cell cleaner”. The cell cleaner will welcome the new prisoner to the cell, and will either leave him alone for the evening, or will demand sex.”
I was probably in his house for a matter of seconds, all of which felt a little tense, especially when asked for cash as we left. Still these experiences make good stories!