Place Of Water by Nicky Newman
Whenever I’m stressed or sad, the moment I’m in, or near water, I calm down instantly, which is why I have an ongoing love affair with The Pavilion, a special public pool in Cape Town, separated from the ocean by a single wall with Robben Island visible across the sea.
I’ve swum here since I was a child. In those dark days, the pool was by law, for white people only. I imagine the many children looking longingly at the water on blistering summer days, wondering why they couldn’t swim there too.
25 years later, thankfully that madness is over and it’s now a place where different nationalities, ages and races play freely together. I marvel at how one large square of water can be such a leveller as we encounter each other semi-naked, how it lightens the spirits and bodies of almost everyone who visits.
I really love taking pictures here, of laughter, joy and flight, decrepit old bodies unfolding into the water, babies discovering it for the first time, people exercising, tourists and school kids.
This pool holds many personal memories for me. When my father was dying a grizzly death, I spent every minute with him. Eventually, exhausted I went to the pool to give myself a break. While I was there, the call came to say my dad had died and I instinctively jumped in and my tears mingled with the salt water as it helped absorb the shock from my body.