Primary Source

Johannesburg Recycled Material Toys [Object]


The photograph shows boys in Diepsloot Township, Johannesburg, South Africa, and one of the rolling toy creations with which the photo shows them playing. These elaborately designed constructions are made from discarded aluminum or steel, soft drink cans, plastic processed food tubs, and water bottles. The material that holds them together is ordinary wire such as coat-hangers. The fanciful constructions do not merely piece together ready-made components. They are often cut with scissors so as to transform found materials into more fanciful, decorative and dynamic parts. Paint or some type of pigment seems to have been added to the bottle that forms the body of the vehicle, which is embellished with fringe-cut cans in the manner of a chimney or headlamp, and the margarine-tub trailer has a similar fringed can on the rear. The makers have given attention to color, form, movement and functionality in these toys. The children themselves collaborate or even compete in the construction of these toys. The photograph is from C is for Candy, the design blog by Candy Chang, photographer, designer, artist, and urban planner in Helsinki, Finland, who travels widely to collect innovative ideas about design and urban spaces, and is a 2009 TED Global Fellow.


Photograph by Candy Chang, “Candy Chang » Blog Archive » Open Eyes, Open Mind,” C is for Candy, (accessed March 5, 2009). Annotated by Susan Douglass.

How to Cite This Source

"Johannesburg Recycled Material Toys [Object]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #323, (accessed August 10, 2021). Annotated by Susan Douglass