The Ghost Towns series depicts small South African towns that have been abandoned and forgotten, left on the edge of nowhere, while transformation takes place in the country's urban areas. Mlangeni describes them as follows:
Quietness; emptiness; grass on a pedestrian pavement, cracked roads, closed-down shops; these images suggest both fiction and non-fiction, past and present scars left unattended. The suggestion of death. Forgotten towns with a rich history that has been lost in the fast-moving pace of a South African landscape. Most of the people have left and migrated to bigger towns and cities; attracted by economic opportunities, only returning for funerals of their loved ones.
The photographs document [these] small towns today, the shift that has taken place, and where freedom and opportunity have somehow skipped past these towns.
Mlangeni was born in 1980 in Driefontein near Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga. In 2001 he moved to Johannesburg where he joined the Market Photo Workshop, graduating in 2004. He won the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts in 2009. His first solo show, Invisible Women, took place at Warren Siebrits, Johannesburg (2007). His Men Only and Country Girls series showed at Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Recent group exhibitions include Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African photography at the V&A Museum, London (2011); Possible Cities: Africa in photography and video, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Pennsylvania (2011); Afropolis: City, Media, Art, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, Germany (2010); and I am not afraid: The Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg, Johannesburg Art Gallery (2010).
Also see Mlangeni's At Home series.