Staff Riding, the local slang for train surfing, is a widespread phenomenon in Katlehong, one of the largest townships in South Africa and has played a key role in the history of the struggle against apartheid. The population is almost entirely made up of blacks, but strongly multiethnic: all the eleven South Africa’s official languages are spoken in the township.
The almost total majority of surfers are kids under 25. Amputations and death are really common. The Prasa Metrorail, the SA train company, is one of the foundations of their society.This connection between train and citizens remained very strong over time.
The spectacular and risky act of train surfing becomes the framework to tell the Katlehong’s young people social fabric.This place has been the epicentre of the anti-apartheid’s guerrillas, and on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the facts that we all know , the situation of segregation has remained more or less unchanged in daily life.
In a context where violence, rampant poverty, abuse of alcohol/drugs and infant birth/AIDS are the masters, the train surfing is configured as the search for a social redemption that will never come for the characters of this story. Staff Riding is part of a long-term project by Italian photographer Marco Casino about the township lifestyle 20 years later the struggle against apartheid. Watch the video below to discover more.