“Golden Youth is not a document of any particular Joburg sub-culture, nor is it a study of consumerism. It does not explain the izikhothane, those cloth-burning youths from Soweto who are the latest subject of written enquiry by pedigreed explainers of things. Golden Youth is, quite simply, a portrait study of some Johannesburg youth at a very particular moment in time, the city’s time as much as their personal biographies.
“It is a very thin slice of people seen at a very specific time,” says Oliver. “It is not a broad statement about Joburg.” And yet, he concedes, the idea of Joburg is contained in every portrait. “This particular look and style could come from nowhere else.”