Queue Camp


This is part three of an ongoing assignment for Médecins Sans Frontières on the migration of refugees from impoverished Zimbabwe into South Africa. Photos Copyright ©2009 Austin Andrews / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Not to be reprinted or reproduced without permission.


Atop a slag heap in the West Johannesburg neighbourhood of Crown Mines, hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum seekers wait for their turn the see the immigration officials at the Department of Home Affairs. An informal shantytown has sprung up near the entrance to Home Affairs, only here what pass for shanties consist of just a blanket and cardboard mattress. The refugees sleep in queues; some have been there for ten days or more. Roughly twenty people from each queue are seen per day, leaving the rest to slowly advance place-by-place over the days.

Tangle of bodies.

Silhouettes congregating.

Face in half light.

Festive, the front of the queue.

“Will Mr. Mugabe see this? Can you show him this?”

Queue placements.

Zip jacket.

Four women settle in for the long wait at the back of the queue.

Tyre fire.


Austin Andrews is a Vancouver-based photojournalist and occasional filmmaker with a penchant for finding the fantastic in the everyday. Contact him at austin [at] disposablewords [dot] net


  • Your images leave me with a sense of connection to lives I could not otherwise have seen. Their faces leave a memory on my spirit. Thank you for your courage to show their plight.

  • I think it’s time to change your blog header. These vapid 50s Delta airline travellers are desperately out of synch with the reality of your pictorial content. Life at the back of the queue is not “All Things Good in Life” nor are your words disposable.


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