Julia Gunther's best photograph: The church brigade leader giving Cape Town kids hope

By Interview by Ben Beaumont-Thomas

‘Being in Ruthy's band shows children there's more to life than township violence'

I'd been living in Amsterdam for eight years, working on the lighting for film sets. Photography was always around – I'd studied film-making in London – though it was never in the foreground. But when you reach your 30s you have a realisation: what do I really want to do? In my case, I bought a ticket to Cape Town. I'd never been to Africa. I just wanted to get far away.

I got a job at a production company, and it was there that I met Ruthy Jones, who did the cooking and cleaning, commuting from Manenberg township. We became very good friends. She's an adorable woman who loves her family. When she was 14, she was raped at the local swimming pool by one of the employees. She wasn't even that aware of what was happening, because sex education was so poor. She only found out what had gone on when she became pregnant.

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Source: Julia Gunther's best photograph: The church brigade leader giving Cape Town kids hope