Creating Awareness in South Africa
The work of South African photographer Hein du Plessis plays a central part in a new resource developed by the University of Cape Town (UCT) entitled Harmful Substances. Discussing the initiative, termed a mini-exhibition by Jurgen Geitner of the University's Pathology Learning Centre, Geitner said it was now on show in the student's canteen on the UCT campus with a version accessible online at: http://www.digitalpathology.uct.ac.za/topics/harmful_substances/asbestos.html
South Africa was unique in that it was the only country with commercially exploitable resources of the three main types of asbestos: chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown) and crocidolite (blue). Placing the South African experience in a geographical context, the exhibition contains a map showing the location of mines, factories, railway lines and ports. While the pathology of asbestos-related diseases constitutes a sizeable proportion of the asbestos section of the display, the faces of the injured, as shown in the black and white photographs taken by Mr. Du Plessis, are a fitting reminder of the human cost of South Africa's asbestos profits.
August 1, 2011