Middle class use of Cocaine in South Africa is on the increase. What was once a upper class pastime, is now frequently used by young affluent South Africans. With this increase in demand, the lucrative Cocaine market has erupted in the major cities.

These images look at one of Durban's biggest Coke dealers preparing for the lucrative New Years parties. It took me months to get the necessary trust from him and his gang members to shoot these images. That evening saw two kilograms of cocaine being prepared and sold.

Prev | Next (1 of 8)

  • Mo Money

    All proceeds from the operation are kept under the mattress or in a safe. Stricter banking laws in South Africa have made it harder to deposit large sums of cash into bank accounts, so a more traditional approach is required.

  • The cocaine sold in South Africa and indeed other places around the world, is rarely pure in quality. Most dealers choose to cut the cocaine with other substitutes, a common one being Ritalin as it shares the same effect with cocaine.

  • X usually starts with a 100 gram bag of relatively pure Cocaine, which will be mixed with a variety of stimulants before being bagged and sold.

  • Durban, like most coastal regions,has a high humidity factor. Often the humidity is around 70%, which plays an important role in the distribution of powdered based drugs. The approach taken by X is to seal each measure in a plastic bag, which ensures the humidity doesn't affect the coke. The process adopted by X, which is pretty genius in my experience, is to cut circles out of plastic rubbish bags and then place 0.4grams into the bag, then seal it up with the help of the candle. This way the coke is always kept dry and easily transported.

  • The last part of the process is to seal the bag up, and this is done using a candle. In all, the whole process from weighing to sealing takes 15-20 seconds.

  • The final product, ready to be distributed to the runners and sold. Incidentally these are the 1.5gram bags, not the standard 0.5gram bags.

  • During the session, X frequently smokes Mandrax mixed with Cannabis. Mandrax is a synthetic drug that is compiled by means of the mixing of chemicals in a chemical process and a tablet is then produced. The active ingredient in Mandrax is Methaqualone.