An intersection of light and shade. A victory of heat against cold. A brief and sunny window of opportunity for Namibians in need of the sun’s warm embrace. Time in a hotspot is quiet and reflective. Unlike an area of WiFi connectivity, in these hotspots, there’s no looking down at phones or tablets. Instead we tilt our heads up, closing our eyes and meditating in the red glow that envelopes our vision and quietens our minds. For most of the year, hotspots are all but ignored. With an average of 300 bright and beautiful days a year, Namibia one of the sunniest countries on earth, and while in summer the harsh heat and glare will send us scurrying for shade, in the winter months of July and August, during the early mornings and late afternoons, we seek the sun out, searching for those hotspots to thaw our chilled bones.
Toufic Beyhum, currently based in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, set out in the two coldest months to document these hotspots, and the cast of characters who occupy them, utilising his signature reportage style.
Using medium-format film, Beyhum captured striking, unposed images of security guards, newspaper sellers, office workers taking a pause, and DIY guys waiting patiently for jobs from passersby – each having found their way to a hotspot for respite from the biting cold.
He had to work fast though, because time in a hotspot is fleeting. Modern life means we cannot linger too long. And as much as we are on the move, so too is the sun, and soon that cherished hotspot has eased away from us, over a high wall, through a window dusted with frost, across an icy road and into the path of another grateful Namibian.